The 40th anniversary of the establishment of the Connacht Gold Dairy Ingredients plant at Ballaghadereen was celebrated at a special function last Wednesday, 26 September.
The plant, which first started production in April 1972, was described by Connacht Gold chief executive, Aaron Forde, as a beacon in the development of the dairy sector in the west and north west over the last 40 years. It has also been a major contributor to employment and wealth generation in the local and rural economy.
A plaque commemorating the 40-year history of the plant was unveiled by Bobby Lawes, son of the plant’s founder Richard Lawes. The event, which was attended by former and current employees as well as Connacht Gold executives and directors, was also marked by the publication of a special booklet chronicling the construction phase and early years of production.
Established by food entrepreneur Richard Lawes to add value to milk from farms in the region, the Ballaghadereen plant moved into co-operative ownership in 1974. It is now one of Ireland’s most efficient food processing facilities.
The chairman of Connacht Gold, Padraig Gibbons, said the 40th anniversary is a celebration of the enterprise, foresight and innovation of the many individuals who have guided the dairy industry in the region over the last four decades.