Abattoir future to be known today

TODAY is D-Day for more than 230 meatworkers employed at the Leitch Pastoral Group-owned Killarney Abattoir and Pittsworth Food Processing plants.

The workers were stood down on Monday with the group declaring it would make an announcement about the future of the processing plants at midday today.

Yesterday rumours about the meatworks imminent re-opening were rampant in Killarney, fuelled by speculation about 800 head of sheep in the abattoir yards.

But a Leitch Pastoral Group spokeswoman said the sheep, along with several head of cattle, had been held in the Killarney abattoir yards since Monday.

“The sheep and cattle have been in the yards since the shut down was announced earlier in the week,” she said.

“The livestock have been on feed and water for the duration.

“At the moment we are still waiting on directives from senior management regarding the future processing plants.”

Leitch Pastoral Group operations manager Rob Doro said earlier in the week the shut down and suspension of employees at the two plants were a result of tough economic times.

The suspension has affected 110 people at Pittsworth and 130 at Killarney as well as the group wholesale and feedlot arm Condamine River Meats.

“The meat industry is a difficult environment at the best of times and this has been a particularly tough period,” Mr Doro said.

Monday’s announcement came two months after the group owner, Dudley Leitch, reassured workers at the Killarney Abattoir their jobs were safe and the company was not in trouble.

The abattoir was established three decades ago by Roly Hancock and has been the regional town’s largest employer.

This week concerned meatworkers and business owners at Killarney have spoken out about the large scale impact permanent closure of the plant would have on the town.

Killarney butcher Greg Power put it bluntly: “if the abattoir closes, it will be the end of the town”.

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