Lakeland Dairies has announced today (Wednesday, November 15) that it plans to close three of its facilities over the next 16 months in order to cut overhead expenses.

It’s understood about 78 jobs will be impacted.

The cooperative has said that the plan is part of a new strategic direction and will mean “realigning its processing footprint to maximise operational efficiencies and enhance value add capabilities for the future”.

Between now and quarter one of 2025, significant change will be implemented across the Lakeland Dairies business to “ensure the cooperative is well placed to meet future market requirements with a realigned processing footprint to match milk supply profiles”.

This is the first step in a new strategy which Lakeland has said will continue to be implemented across the cooperative society in the coming months.

Lakeland Dairies facilities

Over the course of 2023, the cross-border dairy processing co-op has apparently been assessing how best to create further processing efficiencies.

It is supplied by 3,200 farm families who produce two billion litres of high-quality milk annually.

The co-op board has said that “an integral component of this new operational direction is optimising the Lakeland Dairies processing footprint to ensure that the co-op is best placed to serve the needs of its loyal customer base and to continue to support its farm families”.

The closures will be carried out against what the co-op said is “the backdrop of evolving environmental realities and regulatory direction from a milk supply perspective”.

The Board of Lakeland Dairies has approved a plan where liquid milk production will transfer from Lakeland Dairies Monaghan to Lakeland Dairies Killeshandra, Co. Cavan

All other bulk milk-handling activities will transfer to other Lakeland Dairies sites. This will result in the closure of the Monaghan site in quarter one 2025 as a major development project will now
commence at Lakeland Dairies Killeshandra to process liquid milk there.

It is envisaged that, following the ending of production in quarter one 2025, a process to sell the Monaghan site will take place.

Milk drying facilities at Lough Egish, Co. Monaghan will close in June 2024. Milk will continue to be processed at other sites, namely Lakeland Dairies Bailieboro and Killeshandra co. Cavan, Newtownards, Co. Down, Ballyrashane Co. Derry and Artigarvan, Co. Tyrone.

The co-op said this has no impact on the Lakeland Agri feed and inputs operations at the neighbouring Lough Egish feedmill which will continue to grow and develop.

The Lakeland Dairies site in Banbridge, Co. Down, which has acted as a butter churning and packing and powder storage site, with no milk being directly processed there for many years, will close in June

A process to sell the Banbridge site will commence shortly.


The co-op has said that "regrettably", redundancies will be necessary but it is anticipated that 78
jobs will be impacted by the announcement.

There will also be redeployment opportunities for some staff into vacant positions in the business, according to the co-op.

Lakeland Dairies said it has commenced an engagement and consultation process with staff and their unions directly. The remaining 1,300 staff will not be directly impacted by this announcement, it said.

Lakeland Dairies’ group chief executive officer Colin Kelly said: "As a business, we continually assess how we can take long-term strategic decisions that will benefit the society for this and subsequent generations.

"Lakeland Dairies is a cooperative with a heritage spanning nearly 130 years. We have a strong balance sheet, strategically located sites in ROI and NI, a high-quality milk pool of some two billion litres produced by 3,200 committed farm families, a customer base in over 100 global markets, and we are well placed to meet future demands.

"However, we are approaching a decade that will be different from the one that the industry has just experienced.

“The industry has come through a period of significant volume growth following the removal of milk quotas in 2015,"he added.

Kelly explained that Lakeland Dairies invested over €350 million to support the ambition to produce additional milk post-quotas and meet the "latent demand" at farm level for expansion.

"The next decade will be less about large volume growth and more about value-added growth and adding capability throughout the business," Kelly continued.

"This will be done to drive the best possible returns for our farmers and to continue to offer our loyal customers the highest-quality products while supporting our people and our communities.

"We do appreciate that this announcement creates uncertainty for our colleagues and their families. We will work closely with them and support them throughout this process in which they will continue to be treated fairly and with respect.

"While this is a difficult decision, it is a crucial one to ensure that Lakeland Dairies is future-proofed and well-positioned to meet the challenges as well as the opportunities of the future," he concluded.