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Insight into the dairy industry

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny will launch a fascinating new book, Irish Agriculture Nationalised, by Mícheál Ó Fathartaigh, at the headquarters of the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society in Dublin on Wednesday.

Irish Agriculture Nationalised tells the remarkable story of the Dairy Disposal Company (DDC), one of the first Irish State-sponsored bodies, established in 1927 to acquire private creameries and other agri-businesses and transfer them to co-operative societies.

In his foreword to the book, Professor Eunan O’Halpin, of Trinity College Dublin’s Centre for Contemporary Irish History, describes the Dairy Disposal Company as ‘a kind of NAMA’ for the dairy industry in Munster, up to its final dissolution in the 1970s.

The DDC evolved into an agency that developed creameries and other agri-businesses, particularly in the south, and stimulated economic growth. By the time it dissolved in 1978, it had laid foundations, for instance, for The Kerry Group and Golden Vale.

At its height the DDC operated 191 creameries and 86 other agri-businesses, employed 1,400 people and was an industrial outlet for 25,000 farmers. By developing business in peripheral places, the DDC shaped the Irish dairy industry and redressed its east-west economic imbalance.

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