Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, on the second day of engagements, attended Irwin’s Bakery Portadown 100th Birthday Celebrations. Upon arrival TRHs were greeted by the Lord-Lieutenant of County Armagh The Rt Hon The Earl of Caledon. Throughout the day TRHs were accompanied by The Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP, Minister of State for Northern Ireland.
2012 marks the centenary of the Irwin Family business, now in its third generation, based in Portadown and employing approximately 450 staff. The business has grown from its days of horse and cart delivery to now exporting branded products across the UK and Ireland with major supermarkets. It has grown 300% in the last 15 years and is in operation 24 hours a day, only ceasing production on Easter Sunday and Christmas Day.
Moving inside to the Training Room and accompanied by Brian Irwin, Chairman, Irwin’s Bakery and Niall Irwin, Technical Director, Irwin’s Bakery, TRH’s met Company Directors and their spouses and later, at the walkway on Level 1, TRHs listened to a short overview on Bakery operations.
On the Bakery floor at the batch bread oven, TRHs met Stephen Prunty, Production Manager, who outlined the baking process through to the finished product. At the plating and mixing areas TRHs met a number of operatives engaged in these processes.
Proceeding to the soda bread plant, TRHs heard Aaron Harington, Production Manager, outline the soda bread baking process and explain the history associated with it, including viewing the finished product and the mixing process.
Later in the wrapping area TRHs listened to a brief overview by Noeline McCooey on the quality control procedures. In the hotplate room TRHs heard about the baking process, before viewing an operator ‘flipping’ soda farls on the hotplate. TRHs were invited to participate in the flipping operation and went on to view the potato bread making process.
In the dispatch area TRHs met a number of groups representing the following:- Bakery staff, Customers, Suppliers, Local Community, Trade Associations, Supply Chain and Support Services.
Mr Brian Irwin spoke a few words of thanks before inviting HRH the Prince of Wales to unveil a plaque to commemorate the visit to the Bakery and HRH the Duchess of Cornwall to cut a cake to celebrate the Bakery’s Centenary. Garth King, a bakery operative, was invited to present TRHs with the gift of a hamper of Irwin’s produce. TRHs signed the visitors book before departing for the next engagement.
Notes to Editors
Upon arrival TRH’s were greeted by the Lord-Lieutenant of County Armagh The Rt Hon The Earl of Caledon and went on to meet:
Councillor Alan Carson, Mayor, Craigavon Borough Council
Mrs Victoria Carson, Mayoress
Mr David Simpson MP, Member of Parliament for Upper Bann
Mrs Arlene Foster MLA, Minister, Department of Enterprise Trade and Investment
Mr Brian Irwin, Chairman, Irwin’s Bakery
Mr Niall Irwin, Technical Director, Irwin’s Bakery.