New flour mill will create 30 jobs
Two brothers from Enniscorthy, Andrew and Raymond Kavanagh, are working on a plan to develop a state-of-the-art flour mill near the town to the tune of around €25m.
The mill, which will be located at Ballycarney, will create around 30 new jobs initially but Andrew said it's possible the plant will expand even further once it's up-and-running.
'We are looking at a 16 month timeframe,' said Mr Kavanagh, with regard to when the plant is likely to open.
Very keen to keep things local the brothers plan to initially use at least 25 per cent Irish wheat in their flour grist but Andrew said it's envisaged that amount will increase going forward.
'We would definitely hope to use more Irish wheat,' he said.
In addition to being proud of their Wexford origins the two brothers are also acutely aware of the quality of wheat grown locally and throughout the south east.
'If there is wheat to be got in Ireland then the south east is the best place for it,' said Andrew.
He also highlighted the amount of bakeries that are located in the south east region with Co Wexford having some of the best known bakeries in the country including the likes of Pat the Baker, Ryan's, Irish Pride, Kelly's and Stafford's.
When the mill opens it will mark the first time in around 50 years that a new flour mill will have opened anywhere in the country but Andrew was keen to stress that a lot of work has gone into the plan already.
'We started working on this around three years ago and we went back twice with planning and we got our full planning in August gone,' he said.
The mill will use 25 tonnes of wheat per day to produce around 65,000 tonnes of flour per year.
However, at present almost all flour used in Ireland is imported and Mr Kavanagh pointed out: 'It might say it's packed in Ireland but it's mostly imported into the country.'
'People don't realise that when they buy flour off the shelf it's possible that it might not be milled in Ireland,' he said.
Ennis Martin Architecture helped the brothers get planning for the project and Minister Paul Kehoe also expressed full support for the project.
'It's a great news story for Wexford,' he said.
'It will create jobs locally and I very much support it,' said Minister Kehoe.
Meanwhile Mr Kavanagh said there is still uncertainty around Brexit and that a tariff on flour imports will have a major impact here.
That's another reason why development of Ireland's first flour mill since the 1970s can only be good news for the local economy.
In addition to the 30 full-time jobs it's expected that around 200 jobs will be created during the construction phase of the plant and it's hoped that many of these will be local people.