Adrien, Diane, and Kieran Wlash who are the driving force behind Ballycotton Seafood.

Huge investment for family-run seafood business

An East Cork seafood company is about to invest more than €1 million in upgrading its production facilities.

Ballycotton Seafood will also use some of the €1.1 million to improve its automation and efficiencies at its headquarters in Garryvoe.

Adrian Walsh, who runs the business with his wife Diane, said the investment will add a more efficient automation system, upgrade fish processing equipment, improve traceability and expand the smoked salmon operations.

“Having improved processing capabilities and production capacity will help us move up the value chain and add value to fish through filleting, cooking, freezing, and smoking. The investment in automation and processing is vital and will ensure more efficiencies and a streamlining of our operations,” he said.

Ballycotton Seafood employs more than 40 people who work across its processing activities, smokehouse, food preparation kitchen, and three shops in Garryvoe, Midleton, and the English Market in Cork city.

Two chefs work daily in the large commercial kitchen in Garryvoe preparing a range of 25 ready-to-eat meals including chowders, seafood pies, sauces, crab, garlic mussels and breaded seafood.

Mr Walsh continued: “We use traditional cooking techniques and only natural ingredients sourced locally when making these products. We cook on a daily basis for our shops, and you cannot get fresher than that.

“Since the end of the pandemic there has been a huge increase in demand for our ready-to-eat foods. People are busy and want convenience, but they still want quality and the freshest ingredients,” he added.

Mr Walsh started his career as a butcher, but 25 years ago he switched careers and joined the seafood business started by his parents Richard and Mary Walsh in 1985. He and his wife Diane are now the driving force behind Ballycotton Seafood.

Their son Kieran is now working in the business and will eventually take it over. “We are delighted that it will be handed down to the third generation,” said Mr Walsh.

Implemented by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), the investment supported by a €300,000 grant under the Brexit Processing Capital Support Scheme, recommended by the Seafood Taskforce established by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue TD.

“We rely on the loyalty and support of our customers and offer the best fish, seafood and service we can. Staff in Ballycotton Seafood shops take the time to discuss the fish and seafood on offer daily. They will help and give advice if needed when selecting fish and will fillet and prepare the fish and share cooking and preparation tips based on knowledge and experience gained over time,” said Mr Walsh.