Errigal Bay brings qual­ity shell­fish to a global au­di­ence

Irish Examiner - Supplement - - FOOD & DRINK IRELAND -

Errigal Bay’s love- story with the sea started over 50 years ago.

The lat­est chap­ters see Errigal Bay as Ire­land’s largest pro­ces­sor of wild At­lantic Shell­fish.

Its state- of- the- art pro­cess­ing fa­cil­i­ties in Ire­land’s North West and South East en­ables Errigal Bay ex­port pre­mium qual­ity seafood prod­ucts — in­clud­ing crab, scal­lop, whelk, prawns, lan­gous­tine and lob­ster from the purest of At­lantic wa­ters to a global mar­ket of lead­ing re­tail­ers, whole­salers and food ser­vice cus­tomers.

Back in 1962, Fa­ther James McDwyer had a great vi­sion and Errigal Bay is to­day a liv­ing trib­ute to his for­ward-think­ing.

Fr McDwyer was the bay’s lo­cal cham­pion with the fore­sight to launch a Food Pro­cess­ing Co- Op­er­a­tive in or­der to cre­ate lo­cal em­ploy­ment, stave off em­i­gra­tion and help pro­tect the fu­ture of an area of unique her­itage within the Done­gal Gaeltacht – our na­tive Ir­ish­s­peak­ing com­mu­nity.

“Few events have sent such a thrill of hope through our lo­cal com­mu­nity as the suc­cess­ful com­mence­ment of a food pro­cess­ing fac­tory in our midst,” said Fr James at the time.

His dream be­came re­al­ity in De­cem­ber 1962 when the ‘ Errigal Food Pro­cess­ing Plant’ was of­fi­cially opened by Sean Le­mass, Ire­land’s Taoiseach — him­self a man with a great vi­sion for a con­tem­po­rary dy­namic Ir­ish so­ci­ety based on ed­u­ca­tion and in­no­va­tion. Ini­tially, the com­pany pro­cessed veg­eta­bles grown by the lo­cal com­mu­nity. But it soon looked to the sea right on its doorstep.

Errigal Bay quickly pro­gressed to pro­cess­ing pre­mium qual­ity seafood sourced nearby from the fresh wa­ters of the wild At- lan­tic. Start­ing out with just 16 full- time staff in 1962, to­day Errigal Bay em­ploys over 200 staff and ex­ports its prod­ucts world­wide. The orig­i­nal dream is a true en­tre­pre­neur­ial re­al­ity.

The com­pany changed own­er­ship sev­eral times over its long his­tory. Errigal Bay’s cur­rent own­ers have been on board since 2007.

As part of its pro­gram for ex­pan­sion and de­vel­op­ment, the com­pany ac­quired Kil­more Seafood Wex­ford in 2013, adding com­ple­men­tary prod­ucts to its range. Since then, a sig­nif­i­cant in­vest­ment pro­gramme has been im­ple­mented to mod­ernise fa­cil­i­ties and pro­ce­dures and en­sure the com­pany meets the most strin­gent in­ter­na­tional stan­dards, in­clud­ing BRC Global Stan­dards Cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

Photo: Brian Far­rell

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