Dairy processor Glanbia Ireland and Dutch firm Royal A-ware have agreed a deal to build a new continental cheese manufacturing facility in Belview in Co Kilkenny.

The new €140m plant will create about 80 full time jobs and once fully commissioned in 2022, it will have a production capacity of 450 million litres of milk a year.

It is expected that a further 100 temporary jobs will be created during the construction phase.

Glanbia Ireland said that milk used in the production process on site will be sourced from local suppliers and the cheese will be marketed and sold to global customers.

Continental cheese includes types of Gouda and Edam cheeses.

Jim Bergin, the chief executive of Glanbia Ireland, said the new partnership deal will create a new route to market for Glanbia Ireland suppliers' milk and diversify its portfolio of consumer dairy products and ingredients. 

"Since 2014 we have invested €343m to facilitate a 42% increase in milk production by Glanbia farmers.

"This proposed new investment is now required to diversify our product mix and to ensure that our suppliers have the opportunity to fulfil their growth ambitions," Mr Bergin added.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed said the agri-food sector is the country's largest indigenous industry supporting over 174,000 jobs across rural Ireland, from farms to food processing. 

"Investments like this cheese manufacturing facility in Belview are a critical response to the challenges posed by Brexit, in terms of developing new products and new markets," Minister Creed added.