BEARA got an employment boost this week with up to 40 new jobs announced in two separate businesses.
Castletownbere-based Shellfish Ireland has landed a multi-million euro Brexit-proof deal with Lidl, which will see West Cork crab sold in over 800 Lidl stores in Spain and Portugal, creating up to 20 new jobs.
Meanwhile, the newly-launched Dursey Boat Tours expects to take on 20 staff in the near future.
Shellfish Ireland, which already employs around 150 people, has just signed an initial deal worth €500,000 with the German supermarket chain.
However, Ryan Murphy, of the fourth-generation family business, said this was just the start of other lucrative deals, which would also see their brown crab distributed by Lidl in France and Germany.
He said that this would result in between 10 and 20 new jobs being created in the company that also processes prawns, lobster and scallops.
Shellfish Ireland was set up in 1987 by Ryan’s grandfather, 90-year old Pat Murphy, and now Ryan’s father Richard, is the managing director.
Ryan said: ‘The opportunity to export wild north east Atlantic crab, or brown crab, to Lidl stores in Spain and Portugal, is hugely exciting for us and will allow us to continue to support the local community, where we are one of the largest employers in the area.’
France, Spain and Portugal are already the primary markets for the company, with just a small amount being exported to the UK.
‘In the context of Brexit, no one knows how it will end up, so it’s great to mind markets we have more control of,’ said Ryan.
Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD added: ‘It is heartening to see a small family-run company from West Cork receive such recognition for their quality seafood products, from a leading retailer such as Lidl.’
Meanwhile, Dursey Boat Trips was set up to stem the youth population drain from the area, as well as showcase its natural beauty.
Established by local businessmen Paul O’Shea and Jason Sheehan, Durrus Boat Trips plan to run 40 trips a week on their RIB from Garnish pier out and around Bull Rock, with its iconic lighthouse, to Cow Rock, Calf Rock and Dursey Sound.
Paul says the interest so far has been enormous, so much so that they plan to invest in a second boat by next year, and by 2021 they hope to have a vessel to accommodate a coach of 70.
‘In terms of employment, we currently have five people employed part-time and we’d hope to grow that to at least 20 going forward,’ he said.
Paul, who is also the chairman of Lehanmore Community Centre, said their motivation was a mix of getting maximum value out of the Wild Atlantic Way, but also to help stop the drain of their young population.
‘Here in Allihies we no longer have an underage football team; we’ve lost our post office and where we once had four teachers in the local school, there are now only two. We wanted to set something up so people would be encouraged to spend more time in the area and create knock-on opportunities here for accommodation providers,’ he said.
He said their boat trips (which last an hour-and-a-half and cost €240 for six people) are for ‘anyone with a sense of adventure.’
Bandon Co-Op is delighted to be involved with and supporting many local community groups all over West Cork. This video encapsulates some of the wonderful people that we have the pleasure of dealing with #TogetherStrongerWestCork