Co-op vote confirms confidence in plan

ICOS chief executive Seamus O’Donohoe described last week’s Dairygold votes as a resounding endorsement by members of the co-op’s post-quota plan — but some of the 20% of those opposed are still looking at alternative outlets for their milk supply.

Mr O’Donohoe said members had confirmed their confidence in the board and trust in the executive management. Votes on the expansion plan were 80:20 in favour of Dairygold, with a 72:28 rejection of the DMSSG group’s motion seeking independent milk testing.

Mr O’Donohoe said: “The challenges for the society and its members, in adjusting to a freer market and more volatile market place, with less support from the EU, is not to be underestimated. The management and membership can now proceed to address these challenges on a shared basis.”

Limerick-based Jack Cahill was among a number of Dairygold staff who spoke to the media while last week’s members-only AGM and SGM were ongoing.

He said: “The last few months of debate have been difficult at times, but that’s what being in a co-op is all about. A co-op has to be democratic, and we have to take everybody’s opinion on board.” That view has been echoed by members of both the DMSSG and the Concerned Dairygold Action Group, who accepted the democratic view of 80% of the 2,000 who voted.

However, some of the 20% opposed to Dairygold’s plans met this week in Mallow to discuss options — including setting up a new co-op to process their milk or trade it to other processors. One of the members said a second-hand milk drier costing €170,000 could process 336,000 litres of their milk per day.

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