Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Tom Hayes TD, today launched a book celebrating the founding of Nenagh Creamery 100 years ago and Mid West Creameries 50 years ago, and their amalgamation in 2001 to form Arrabawn Co-operative Society.
Reflecting on what he described as a valuable historical record, and thanking author Martin Ryan, Minister Hayes commented, “In many ways this story chronicles the history not just of Arrabawn Co-op, but of agriculture in Ireland and in Tipperary, in particular. The co-op movement and the dairy sector have an enduring legacy in which we take great pride”
The Minister pointed to the common ancestry of the Department of Agriculture the co-operative movement. Referring to role of Horace Plunkett in the founding of both institutions at a time when farmers were facing challenging times and big decisions, he compared the dramatic impact of the establishment of the first co-operatives with the decision to abolish milk quotas with effect from 1st April 2015, “Today, 100 years on, we are facing another seminal moment for the Irish dairy sector. With the abolition of milk quotas and a newly reformed Common Agriculture Policy as a backdrop, Irish farmers are facing new decisions and new challenges, but also tremendous opportunity.”
Minister Hayes called on all stakeholders to build on the obvious natural environmental advantages that Ireland has for the marketing of dairy products, against a background of ever increasing global market demand, but said that the dairy industry could not afford to be complacent if it wished to maximise the once in a lifetime opportunity that quota abolition presented, “To the stakeholders in the dairy sector, I say that there must be an unrelenting commitment to producing the highest quality product, to improving competitiveness at both farm at processing level using the best technology available, and by making prudent financial and business decisions based on profitable expansion.”
Acknowledging the vision of the pioneers of the co-operative movement and the path they set for the industry, Minister Hayes concluded, “It is up to this generation to show a similar level of vision, determination and attention to detail, in preparing this marvellous industry for challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. The dairy sector in Ireland has a proven capacity to compete on international markets and I am confident that it can continue to exceed our expectations for it in the coming decade”