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Fears over Moy Park future as live chicken processing suspended in Ballymena


Moy Park, Ballymena.


There have been concerns in the farming community and also among staff at one of Northern Ireland’s largest poultry producers, after it was announced that Moy Park is to cease processing live birds at its factory in Ballymena.

Reports suggest that the company has been struggling with the double challenges of rising energy costs, and has also faced difficulties in recruiting staff in a post-Brexit labour market.

The Irish Times quoted a spokesperson for Moy Park who said, in response to “customer growth and labour market challenges”, the company was proposing to move staff from the live bird processing line in Ballymena to other processing lines.



“No jobs will be impacted by these changes. However we are planning to temporarily pause live bird processing at Ballymena as we focus on seasonal and retail products,” a spokesman said.


“The live processing line will restart again in September. We will be working closely with our farming partners throughout the process to manage this temporary reduction in poultry requirement,” he added.


However there are fears that the company may be planning to scale back operations on a longer-term basis.


Ulster Farmers Union (UFU) Deputy President William Irvine.

Responding with concern to the current situation, the Ulster Farmers Union (UFU) Deputy President, William Irvine, said:


“Our members are extremely disappointed and worried about Moy Park pulling back on production here.


“It is the second time this has happened in less than three years and will create ongoing income pressures.


“Poultry producers have been hit hard in recent times and they’ve been exhausting every avenue to sustain their family farm businesses.



“Moy Park has said that they aim to get the slaughtering of live birds in the Ballymena site going again in September when a major contract with Sainsbury’s will begin, but in the meantime, we will be liaising closely with Moy Park to ensure this is managed with minimal impact.


“It’s important that consumers understand that the increasing input costs to produce food is going to affect the cost of food for them.


“Neither farmers or processors can produce food, meeting extra production costs, without receiving a fair return from the marketplace.


“Therefore, it’s going to have a rippling affect down the food chain,” he concluded.