'Ambitious plan' submitted for NI's first cull sow pork plant

Northern Ireland currently has no dedicated facility to process cull sows
Northern Ireland currently has no dedicated facility to process cull sows

A major pork producer has submitted a £75 million proposal to build Northern Ireland's first factory to process cull sows.

Bannside Foods have submitted the plan, proposing for the site to be located in Ballymoney, County Antrim.

The plant would be centred at the former Malton Bacon factory, which was destroyed by fire in 1998.

Currently, Northern Ireland has no dedicated facility to process cull sows.

Farmers in the region have to export them to mainland Britain, Republic of Ireland and the continent.

Johann Muldoon, the architect behind the proposal, said it was an 'ambitious plan' that could create 350 to 400 direct jobs and 2,000 indirect jobs.

"It will future proof an industry that has been hard hit in the last number of years plus any new jobs should be welcomed," she told the BBC.

"One of the key concerns with Brexit was the access to migrant labour - this plant will see changes to the nature of that."

Ms Muldoon added it would also "link in to apprenticeships and training in the tech side of business, but there will be the other side of things that are less tech savvy."

Local UUP Councillor Darryl Wilson said the proposal was 'welcome news' which could bring 'much needed' job creation and investment to the area.

"Developers (Bannside foods) have submitted a planning proposal... to incorporate a new automated, first of its kind food processing plant," he said.

A 12-week public consultation on the proposal is presently underway.