I blogged a month ago about the shock closure of Gallagher's bakery in Ardara in Donegal and the blow it struck to the community - both in the village and in the wider Donegal South West community.
I just heard that local businessman Derek Gallagher today bought back the factory from IAWS - the international food group company he sold Gallaghers to four years ago. Big boys who put Gallaghers into liquidation. He hasn’t disclosed how much he paid for it nor should he - I hope he got a bloody bargain and managed to squeeze plenty of money from the feckers - because he said he will be re-opening the bakery end of the business. He may not be able to re-employ everyone but thinks there is a good chance he will be able to save between seventy and a hundred jobs.
It is an encouraging move on the part of Mr Gallagher and I’m sure there are many families and businesses in the Ardara area who are relieved with the news. Mr Gallagher’s family ran the business for twenty years before selling out to the bigger company although he stayed on as Managing Director.
I don't understand business big or small and I don't have the full facts. But I do understand the value of small tight-knit communities. They look after each other. Yes - Mr Gallagher will make profits but those profits only come after the local worker's wages are paid, the raw materials sourced locally are paid for and the utilities and machines paid for and maintained. Then he takes his cut and all of this trickles down to local businesses. In my last blog about the bakery I said I would recognise a voice calling halt to the march of profits before people. Mr Gallagher said that he had a social responsibility to save as many jobs as possible and provide futures for his children and his community - I like the sound of Mr Gallagher's voice.
Plus Gallagher's white sliced pan is the nicest sliced white (if that’s not an oxymoron) I have ever tasted. Donegal is another world. They do things different up there, they look after their own - they certainly make the best bread (they're good at the fish too!)