‘I thought it was a drill’: Glenisk manager speaks of devastating factory fire

‘I Thought It Was A Drill’: Glenisk Manager Speaks Of Devastating Factory Fire ‘I Thought It Was A Drill’: Glenisk Manager Speaks Of Devastating Factory Fire
The fire broke out at Glenisk’s organic yoghurt factory on Monday in Killeigh, near Tullamore. Photo: Offaly County Council/Twitter
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Vivienne Clarke

The managing director of Glenisk yoghurt, Vincent Cleary, has said the company will regroup and rebuild to become operational as quickly as possible following the fire on Monday which completely destroyed its Offaly manufacturing plant.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr Cleary said tears were shed during the night, but that he would be meeting with line managers on Tuesday to “make a list” to get back to work.

Mr Cleary said he wanted all the staff to “buy into” whatever plans are developed on Tuesday morning and that they will “take ownership” of the plans.

It was still uncertain what exactly had happened on Monday, he said. Smoke was first noticed at midday in the incubation room and within seconds the fire quickly spread along a wall. Even though there was shock among the staff, the building was evacuated quickly because of regular drills.


“I thought it was a drill at first, but it was the real thing. I think the training saved a lot of lives yesterday.”

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The factory was a burnt out shell this morning, he said. “We are going to regroup. We will come up with a Plan B, we need to get back on shelves as soon as possible.”

Mr Cleary said he was humbled by offers of support and capacity from competitor companies. The future of Glenisk was uncertain, but by Tuesday morning there would be a plan. “We have a great crew, many have been in place for 20 years. I have a responsibility to provide gainful employment to them.

The company’s milk tankers were not damaged in the fire and will be collecting organic milk as usual this morning “even if we have to take a financial hit to ensure there is no impact on the farmers.”

Mr Cleary said he will be seeking out fabricators and machine builders to try to get the operation back up and running.

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