IT'S THE REAL THING!
TAOISEACH RAISES GLASS TO COKE'S RECIPE FOR SUCCESS IN WEXFORD
SECURITY is so tight at the Coca Cola manufacturing plant in Drinagh that even the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin had his car searched as he arrived for the official opening of the facility by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny last Friday.
RTE correspondent Damien Tiernan and a camera crew were asked to move away from the entrance as no press were allowed inside. Coca Cola in Drinagh makes the flavouring for the iconic soft drink which is used in the company's plants around the world, and the recipe is a closely guarded secret.
In fact, the Wexford factory is reported to be one of the most high-security facilities anywhere.
' The secret recipe which I didn't learn out there today is still safe,' declared An Taoiseach at a celebratory lunch in White's Hotel following his tour of the plant.
Coca Cola which is celebrating 125 years in existence this year, has invested $300 million in the Wexford unit which began operating a few months ago.
A total of 65 people are currently employed in the factory and another 35 jobs are expected to come on stream over the next few years.
An Taoiseach described it as a very welcome investment in County Wexford and the south east region as a whole.
A large gathering of Coca Cola representatives including the Chief Executive Worldwide Muhtar Kent flew into Wexford from Atlanta for the special occasion.
Enda Kenny told them: 'I'd like to borrow your slogan 'Life Begins Here' and wish Coca Cola a long and fruitful life here in Wexford.'
'At a time of great challenge for the Irish economy, this investment by Coca Cola is a great vote of confidence,' he said.
Mr. Kenny had a special welcome for Don Keough, a former President of Coca Cola who was also in attendance.
Mr. Keough whose grandfather came from New Ross was instrumental in the company investing in Wexford.
'I know you are the proudest person in the room, if not the country today, to see what has been achieved in Wexford,' said the Taoiseach.
'You are a very welcome friend of our country,' he added..
Executive Vice President Ariel Finan whose family are originally from Roscommon said Coca Cola is very proud of its newest facility in Ireland.
Coca Cola's world boss Mr. Kent said the company was very honoured to be here 'in this great couintry and this lovely community.'
He recalled the turning of the first sod on the site in November 2008 and said : 'We now have a world class facility that is going to have an impact on our business in every country around the world.'
He also announced an expansion at the company's plant in Drogheda and said the significant investment in both areas represented a vote of confidence in Ireland and its bright future.
Neither the American contingent or An Taoiseach and his entourage had time to finish their delicious lunch in Whites Hotel.
The Coca Cola executives had to dash out to Drinagh to board a helicopter bound for Dublin Airport where a private jet was waiting to take them back to Atlanta.
Mr. Kenny had another engagement in Enniscorthy and he was already running late.
Muhtar Kent did have time for a toast to the Wexford new plant before he departed.
And the drink that everyone raised in response?
Why Coca Cola of course. It's the real thing after all.