McDonald’s closure creates crisis for Waterford farmers and meat producers
Beef farmers and meat factory workers in Waterford have woken to an uncertain future after the world’s largest fast-food chain announced its immediate closure, creating a massive hole in local production.
McDonald’s has announced it will temporarily close all its restaurants in the UK and Ireland by 7pm this evening evening as a result of the deepening coronavirus crisis.
Local meat producer Dawn Meat, which employs thousands at its plant in Grannagh, provides McDonald’s with more than one billion beef patties for its Ireland and UK restaurants every year.
McDonald’s spend more than €160 million annually on Irish produce to export to their UK and European market.
The loss of this business seriously impacts beef farmers in Waterford and the South East who provide the vast majority of the cattle to Dawn Meats.
In a statement released on social media, the company said: “We have taken the difficult decision to close all McDonald’s restaurants in UK and Ireland by 7pm on Monday 23rd March at the latest.”
The company stated they “cannot maintain safe social distancing even when operating take away only”.
The Irish Farmers Association (IFA) said McDonald’s closure is “a big blow to the sector”.
They added: “Unfortunately, it is reflective of what is happening across Europe where closures have had an impact on the food service sector. However, some of this has been mitigated by an increase in retail demand.”
On a more positive note for farmers and Dawn Meats, McDonald’s has re-opened all its restaurants in China over the weekend as the Covid-19 crisis eases there.
Dawn Meats was approved for meat exporting to China late last year.