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Cavan-based Lakeland Dairies will create 85 new jobs between now and 2019 after having invested €40 million in a milk powder plant.

The facility in Bailieboro was officially opened Thursday by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed and is understood to be one of the largest in Europe.

During the building process over 180 construction workers were employed. The company now employs over 800 people.

Lakeland Dairies processes over 1.2 billion litres of farm produced milk annually and this new addition is the company’s third milk drying plant at its Bailieboro process centre.

“International markets hold big growth potential for Ireland as a global exporter of high quality dairy food ingredients. With this impressive new facility, Lakeland Dairies will compete strongly in serving its existing long standing customers and will also access new markets,” said Mr Creed.

Michael Hanley, the group chief executive, said that the investment will help the company address opportunities in the areas of infant formulas and dairy proteins.

“Our strategy is to create long term competitiveness and sustainability for our milk producers and to meet the long term needs of our valued customers in the global food industry where we see constant demand for our products,” he said.

Lakeland Dairies has over 2,400 milk suppliers and exports almost 100 per cent of all milk processed as value added dairy food service products and food ingredients.

Irish Times