WITH the sudden closure, of the Dairygold Co-Op store in Togher, north west of Dunmanway, members of the local farming community have told The Southern Star that they are extremely angry and concerned.
The creamery, which currently has 21 milk suppliers in the area, was first opened back in 1957 before becoming part of the Ballyclough group and then the Dairygold Co-Op back in 1990.
‘We now have no co-op store within a 10 km radius of Togher,’ farmer Donal Hurley, who served on the committee for over 31 years, told The Southern Star. The closest option for us now is over 15km away, in Dunmanway. This is a blow to the local farming community and we are very annoyed at Dairygold for the way they just closed down the co-op.
While the Dairygold Co-Op store in Togher was opened three days a week since 2008, Donal blames the lack of stock for the perceived under-use of the store.
‘Dairygold has closed 13 out of 39 co-op stores as part of their cost cutting plan,’ Donal said. They tell us that more people are now using the online shopping option to order supplies. Well, most of us around here never used the online option nor do we want to.
‘Local farmers who have used the co-op all their lives will find it very difficult from now on.’
A spokesperson for Dairygold said that ‘the store in Togher has a long tradition of service to the farmers of the region, of which Dairygold is very proud, but unfortunately due to a variety of factors, it did not offer long term viability.
‘Last October, Dairygold announced a three-year store investment plan to establish a modern, fit-for-purpose store network that could serve its farming members and customer into the future.
‘It followed a review of the entire store network across Munster, which looked at customer base, store size, location and facilities, physical condition, upgrade and commercial performance to identify the stores which offered the potential for long term viability.
‘The plan will see the enhancement of some stores, the building of new stores at certain existing locations, the upgrade of some older stores and, finally, the integration of 13 stores into neighbouring stores, of which Togher was one.
‘Dairygold is working with its members and customers in the area to ensure that it can continue to provide the best and most convenient service possible, this includes mobilising our area sales managers, direct farm deliveries and facilitating customer accounts in the neighbouring Terelton store.’