Minister of State, Damien English meets local producers at The Food Hub in Drumshanbo Pictures: Brian Duignan
Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English, T.D., visited the Leitrim Local Enterprise Office (LEO) on Wednesday, September 7, where he met with council officials and members of the LEO team as well as some of their client companies.
Minister English’s first stop was the Food Hub in Drumshanbo where he was greeted by Minister of State, Frank Feighan, Cathaoirleach of Leitrim County Council, Ita Reynolds-Flynn and Leitrim Chief Executive, Lar Power.
Pascal Gillard, Jinny’s Bakery, Damien English, T.D., Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Sinead Gillard, Jinny’s Bakery, Ita Reynolds Flynn, Cathaoirleach Leitrim County Council, Frank Feighan, T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for Public Health, Well Being and National Drugs Strategy.
The Minister then heard from Director of Services, Joseph Gilhooly and LEO Head of Enterprise, Joe Lowe about developments in the county and their future plans and priorities.
Minister English said, “I am delighted to be here in Leitrim and to meet the LEO team. Whether it is through the provision of training, mentoring or through other important assistance, the LEOs are a fantastic support for local businesses.
“I am also pleased to visit the Food Hub which is part of the Leitrim Food Enterprise Zone. This project has received funding from my Department’s Regional Enterprise Development Fund and the initiative will ultimately see Drumshanbo and its hinterland develop as an area of food excellence and production.”
Minister English with Detta McNiffe of McNiffes Bakery
At the Food Hub the Minister met several LEO client companies to find out about their produce. First he was introduced to McNiffes Bakery, famous for its boxty which is stocked in shops throughout Ireland.
Next he spoke to John Brennan of Blakes Always Organic which was established in 2012. The company produces organic kefir and whole-bean artisan organic coffee beans.
Minister English with John Brennan of Blakes Always Organic
Sinead and Pascal Gillard then told the Minister about their family business, Jinny’s Bakery and Tea Rooms. They now supply bread to retailers nationwide as well as to Supermacs and hotels across the country.
Minister English then spoke with Lisa Gifford of Leitrim Hill Creamery who told him about her business that produces hard and soft goats’ cheeses.
Lisa Gifford, Leitrim Hill Creamery, Damien English, T.D., Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Richelle South and Gypsy Gifford, Leitrim Hill Creamery.
Finally, the Minister met with Georgia Visnyei of Artessa, a coffee roastery that supplies coffee to customers in Ireland, the UK and across Europe.
Frank Feighan, T.D., Minister of State with responsibility for Public Health, Well Being and National Drugs Strategy, Damien English, T.D., Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Georgia Visnyei, Artessa Coffee, Ita Reynolds-Flynn, Cathaoirleach Leitrim County Council
The Minister then travelled to the Leitrim Design House in Carrick-on-Shannon, one of the leading craft and design outlets in the country. It was established by the Leitrim County Enterprise Board in 2000 and has become one of the most progressive craft and design clusters in Ireland. The Design House assists businesses to develop and showcase their designs.
Damien English, T.D., Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Emily Sachs Eldridge, Artwood
Here Minister English met with some more LEO clients including Artwood, a family craft business run by Giolla Liddy and Emily Sachs-Eldridge. The company makes suncatchers from native Irish wood and crystal.
12 Quail Farm Soap Studio was set up to supply quail eggs and then diversified into handmade donkey milk soap production.
Cianán Redmond runs Heartfelt Gifts, a small company which produces robin wall art gifts using needle felting techniques.
Cianán Redmond, 12 Quail Farm Soap Studio, Fenagh, with Damien English, T.D., Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail
Stephen Keane runs News Mag Media which publishes curriculum linked news magazines for children.
Minister English also learned about the Creative Heartlands/Fab Lab that was funded by the Regional Enterprise Development Fund. It is a three-year project developed by Leitrim, Sligo and Roscommon Arts Offices and Local Enterprise Offices that aims to strengthen economic growth and sustain existing enterprises in the film sector and in the design and digital fabrication sector.
Stuart Lawn, Creative Heartlands, with Damien English, T.D., Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Lar Power, Leitrim Chief Executive, Joe Lowe, Local Enterprise Office Leitrim, and Minister of State, Frank Feighan T.D.
On the conclusion of his visit, Minister English said, “The spirit of entrepreneurship is alive and well in Leitrim. The variety of businesses here really underlines the type of talent that exists in regions all over the country.
“The potential in Leitrim for the food industry, craft and design and many other innovative sectors is clear to see.
“It is wonderful to see people identifying these business opportunities and through the LEO network and other supports, the Government will continue to back these businesses and help them to grow and thrive.
“Underpinned by our progressive Regional Enterprise Plans, this will ensure job creation and economic growth in every part of the country.”
Pictured outside The Dock and Leitrim Design House are, from left, Joe Lowe (Leitrim Enterprise Office), Minister of State, Frank Feighan, Johanne Cox, Carol Philpott, Minister of State, Damien English, Carmel Coll, Lar Power (Chief Executive, Leitrim County Council), Sheena Cannon, Geraldine Reynolds and Joseph Gilhooly (Director of Services, Leitrim County Council).
Subscribe or register today to discover more from DonegalLive.ie
Buy the e-paper of the Donegal Democrat, Donegal People's Press, Donegal Post and Inish Times here for instant access to Donegal's premier news titles.
Keep up with the latest news from Donegal with our daily newsletter featuring the most important stories of the day delivered to your inbox every evening at 5pm.