Dominic McGrath, PA
The first cartons of goats milk have come off the production line at a Co Offaly factory badly damaged by fire earlier this week.
The fire hit Glenisk organic yoghurt factory in Killeigh, near Tullamore, on Monday.
The blaze caused significant damage to the plant, with the exact cause of the fire still unclear.
The yoghurt plant is believed to have been destroyed, but a smaller milk bottling site was not damaged and is now being used by the company.
The smaller plant started work at around 7am on Saturday morning.
Vincent Cleary, managing director of Glenisk, said the support he and the company have received in recent days is “humbling”.
“It really was like a death in the family,” Mr Cleary said.
“It was like a funeral or the aftermath of a funeral.”
He said he is hopeful the company can be back up and running properly soon.
“We’re coming up with a plan and we’re confident by January, we won’t have the full suite of products, but it’s a start,” he told RTE radio.
“I’m an optimist by nature.”
He said the company will be keeping its staff on as he likened the business to a “family”.
A little delayed but... I am now eager to get back up and running. My Christmas target might be optimistic but I am hoping to rediscover the optimism inside me that served me so well over the past decades. The support is humbling, thank you one and all, you make me stronger❤ https://t.co/W9MRbdrHcF
— Vincent Cleary (@Vincent_Glenisk) September 30, 2021
“We’re fighting for our staff,” he said.
Glenisk employs 90 people, with about 70 of those working at the site in Killeigh.
Smoke was spotted in the incubation room before 12pm on Monday.
Around 50 staff were quickly evacuated from the building and there were no reports of injuries.