Cropped 22 Jan 2024

ICMSA say Tirlan redundancies “just the beginning” as dairy sector “shrinking before our eyes”

Reacting to the announcement of a round of voluntary redundancies at Tirlan – the State’s largest milk processor – ICMSA President Denis Drennan said that he feared it was “just the beginning” of a massive restructuring of our dairy sector due primarily to current Government policy.   

Mr. Drennan said that our dairy sector – the one indigenous sector in which Ireland led the world – is now shrinking before our eyes as deliberately depressive policies and regulations were piled on low prices and high inputs prices.   He described as “delusional” the idea that the sector could experience the kind of collapse in investment, income and volumes it was now undergoing without having a negative multiplier on the wider rural economy all over the State but most particularly in Munster and South Leinster.

“The 150 redundancies that Tirlan are seeking may be just the beginning of a wider sector restructuring; we are in danger of entering a period of decline of the sector that more than any other provided prosperity and economic prospects to rural areas all across the State.   The tragedy – and in time it will be judged as exactly that – is that it was perfectly possible to move smoothly towards our environmental targets while preserving our world-leading dairy sector and the rural economic bulwark it represents.  ICMSA has on numerous occasions outlined how and why we should do that”, said Mr. Drennan.

“Instead, the Government and EU have decided on a crude policy aimed at just regulating dairy farmers out of existence at the prompting of a chorus of self-appointed and self-important so-called eco ‘activists’ and commentators.  There’s no point in the Government denying that this has not been the policy; the evidence is all around us in the crashing income and plunging volumes of production.  It’s also to be seen in the empty order books of rural companies and contractors as the ”milk multiplier’ works negatively in reverse. The job losses have now begun and the ‘hollowing-out’ of the rural economy will now pick up pace with the attendant social and demographic changes that will bring”, said Mr. Drennan, himself a Tirlan supplier.

Ends        20 June 2024

Denis Drennan, 086-8389401

President, ICMSA.


Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758

ICMSA press Office