A new €25m banana ripening and distribution centre, owned and operated by Irish banana distributors Fyffes, has opened in Balbriggan in north Co Dublin.
When operating at full capacity the new centre will have an output of over seven million bananas per week - over 60,000 tonnes annually - all for supply to Irish retailers, wholesalers and food providers.
Adjacent to the M1 motorway with convenient access to the national motorway network, the new facility was commissioned in November 2019.
Constructed on a 10-acre site, it includes the 8,500sq.m ripening and distribution centre and an adjacent 1,750sq.m two-storey office and administration block, with loading bays, truck and customer parking and ancillary services areas.
Replacing the company's former facility in Swords, it has the capacity to accommodate 120 staff.
Founded in 1888 by Edward Wathen Fyffe, Fyffes is the world's oldest fruit brand and has grown to become the largest importer of Fairtrade certified bananas in the world.
Acquired in 1986 by Dundalk fruit importers, McCanns - and now part of the Japanese Sumitomo Corporation - Fyffes has an annual turnover of €1.2 billion.
As well as its new Balbriggan facility, Fyffes also has a base in Dundalk and employs over 100 people in Ireland.
Globally, the organisation employs over 10,000 people and has offices in 12 countries.
Constructed in line with new building regulations, the new Fyffes plant has the potential to use some 60% less energy than the building it replaces.
Some of its energy will be supplied by roof-mounted photovoltaic panels while both the office heating and cooling systems will be fed via a ground source heat pump (GSHP).
Rainwater harvesting systems have also been installed to help conserve and reduce water consumption.
The building uses energy efficient LED lights and also has generous window glazing and external "brise soleil" to provide passive shading and reduce overheating.
A green roof system has been installed for growing flora and encouraging pollinators.
Fyffes chief executive Helge Sparsoe said the new development will have a very positive impact on Fyffes by delivering even greater productivity and strengthening its ability to service the needs of our customers.
Describing the new plant as "a commitment to securing Fyffes future operations in Ireland," Mr Sparsoe pointed to the benefit it will bring to the economy in north Co Dublin through employment and the number of jobs it will sustain.