The director of Glenisk has said "basically everything" has been lost after a major fire at the yoghurt manufacturing facility in Co Offaly.

The fire alarm sounded at approximately 11am at the factory at Killeigh, Tullamore and all 50 staff were immediately evacuated.

The fire is now under control.

Gardaí in Tullamore confirmed that no one was injured.

Speaking at the plant, Glenisk director Gerard Cleary said "basically everything" had been lost.

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"It's devastating for all of us really at this point in time and we don't really know what to say.

"We'll just have to see what we have and what we can salvage and then just start again. That's all we can do."

He said he was glad the plant's safety and emergency plans worked effectively.

"We're just grateful to all the services, the fire brigade and the ambulance. Luckily no one was injured in any way so we're very thankful for that."

Mr Cleary said a cause is not yet known but the manufacturing plant and stocks had been destroyed.

"Anything that gets us to get a pot of yoghurt to the supermarket shelf, that's all gone at the moment. But we're resilient, we'll fight back," he added.

Buildings not directly affected by the fire may have smoke damage.

(Pic: Gearoid Keegan)

The Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Pippa Hackett said: " The total destruction of the Glenisk plant, near Killeigh in Co Offaly, due to fire is devastating for the Cleary family, their staff, and also for the farmers who supply them. This is a successful business, built from scratch, and one of the main processors of organic milk in the country.

"As the Minister with responsibility for organics, I want to recognise the extraordinary contribution Glenisk have made to the organic sector, and I will be in Tullamore tomorrow evening to discuss the situation with them."

Glenisk had a turnover of €24.1m in 2019

In 2019, the last year for which accounts are publicly available, Glenisk had a turnover of €24.1m and made a profit of €1.2m.

The bulk of the company's revenue came from Ireland, with around 3% derived from its European sales.

Last November, it was reported that the business had seen a 50% increase in organic yoghurt sales during the first period of severe Covid-19 restrictions in early 2020, as more people ate at home.

At that point, the number of staff employed by the firm had grown to 85 and it was enjoying the number one spot in the yoghurt market in Ireland with a 19% share.

The group is controlled and run by the Cleary family who started the business in 1987.

It uses 50 family farms across the country to source its organic cows’ and goats’ milk.

Additional reporting Will Goodbody