The managing director of Glenisk has said that the future seems “uncertain” at this moment in time, after the devastating fire that occurred at the company’s Co. Offaly plant yesterday (Monday, September 27).

In an emotional interview on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland this morning, Vincent Cleary said they don’t yet know fully what happened.

“Around midday smoke was smelt and within what seemed like seconds, fire started where our yoghurt is actually made – what we call the incubation room,” Cleary explained.

“And within seconds it seemed to have spread along a wall and the shout went out, alarm went off to evacuate the premises. We’re well drilled and trained in that.

“I’ll be straight up, I thought it was a drill at first because we’ve had so many but it was the real thing and I guess our training saved a lot of lives yesterday.”

He said that what is left of the facility this morning is a “burned-out shell”.

“We’re going to regroup this morning. We’ll have a meeting and we’ll come up with a plan B; we need to get back on the shelves as quick as we possibly can,” Cleary continued.

“I was humbled to say the least, that all of our what I would have termed as ‘competitors’ have reached out to us to offer us support and capacity in their own manufacturing units. So I’m sure we’ll be in touch with a few of them over the coming days.”

‘Uncertain’ future for Glenisk

At this point in time, he said the future for him and the workers at Glenisk is “uncertain”, but come 10:00a.m this morning “we’ll have a plan in place”.

“We’ve got a great crew; most of our staff have been with us 20 odd years. I have a responsibility to those staff as well to gain them full employment and we’ll continue with that trend,” the Glenisk director continued.

“I’m trying to involve as many as possible this morning so that everybody buys into the new plan – whatever that plan may be, whatever that we’ll hatch in the coming hours – and that everybody will take ownership of it.”

He said that he has “no concern about the milk”.

“We still have our milk tankers; we’re out collecting milk this morning as we always do and even if we have to take a financial hit by diverting it elsewhere for the time being, just to make sure that farmers aren’t impacted unduly until we’re back up and running ourselves.”

He added that yesterday was a “shock”, a “daze”.