35 workers are being laid off after fire destroyed the Pet Treats pet food plant at Clonmellon on the Westmeath-Meath border at the weekend.

The company's managing director Ged O'Leary said the staff had been temporarily let go because of the serious damage caused by the blaze to the 18,000 sq ft plant.

Mr O'Leary said he will make strenuous efforts to re-start some of the company's package pet food business within the next two weeks at a location nearby.

But he said the damage to the rest of the plant is so serious that it will take some time to rebuild a production line.

Seven units of the fire services attended the blaze at the Pet Treats plant in the early hours of Friday morning.

The cause of the fire is still unknown. The staff who have lost their jobs live mainly in the area between Mullingar, Delvin and Athboy on the Westmeath-Meath border.

Pet Treats was exporting pet food to the UK and the rest of Europe up to the time of the fire.