McDonald’s closure creates crisis for Wicklow farmers and meat producers
Beef farmers and meat factory workers in Wicklow have woken to an uncertain future after the world’s largest fast-food chain announced its immediate closure in Ireland, creating a massive hole in local production.
McDonald’s has annoucned it will temporarily close all its restaurants in the UK and Ireland by 7pm this evening as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
One of the country’s largest meat producers, Dawn Meats, has a contract with the fast-food giant and sees it provide McDonald’s with more than one billion beef patties for its Ireland and UK restaurants per annum.
McDonald’s spend more than €160 million annually on Irish produce to export to their UK and European market.
The loss of this business seriously impacts beef farmers in the Wicklow, the East and the South East who provide the vast majority of the cattle to Dawn Meats.
In a statement released on social media, the company said: “We have taken the difficult decision to close all McDonald’s restaurants in UK and Ireland by 7pm on Monday 23rd March at the latest.”
The company said they “cannot maintain safe social distancing even when operating take away only”.
The two McDonald’s restaurants in county Wicklow will close their doors today.
The Irish Farmers Association said McDonald’s closure “is a big blow to the sector”
They added: “Unfortunately, it is reflective of what is happening across Europe where closures have had an impact on the food service sector. However, some of this has been mitigated by an increase in retail demand,” it said.