AFTER months of speculation Oatfield in Letterkenny is set to close at the end of next month. It will mark the end of an era as the Oatfield sweet brands had been manufactured in the town for over 80 years.
The company said the difficult decision had been taken after a detailed review of the business. They said they would do all they could to minimise the impact of the job losses but had to close the plant due to ‘unsustainable overhead and commodity costs’.
The remaining 17 workers at the plant got 30 days notice on Friday and are due to meet with management to discuss redundancy terms on Thursday. Some of the workers have up to 40 years’ service.
The plant is set to close on May 27. Management wrote to workers informing them of the news and confirmed they will honour redundancy payments.
Speaking to the Donegal News, the Mayor of Letterkenny, Cllr Gerry McMonagle said losing the Oatfield brand in Letterkenny was a ‘massive blow’.
However, he said after months of speculation the news was not unexpected. The plant is owned by Dublin based firm Zed Candy although the site is owned by Donegal Creameries.
Workers had been fearful the operation was set to close and have claimed recently they are being ‘shabbily’ treated by Zed Candy who bought the Oatfield brand from McKinney and Co.
Employees were angry the company had refused to either confirm or deny reports it was going to close the plant and transfer operations to England. There has been a steady removal of machinery and downturn in output over the past few months.
Fears for the future of the Letterkenny business were heightened last month when it emerged that Lidl was in negotiations to buy the site.