Sinn Féin MLA Phil Flanagan has said that high-energy costs may have contributed to the threatened loss of 50 jobs at Fivemiletown Creamery.
Mr Flanagan said,
“"The sale of Fivemiletown Creamery is a sad day for the local community as it brings to an end a long standing tradition of milk processing in the local area.
“Although the loss of several contracts has caused concern over the past few years the high cost of energy is also a major factor.
“Users in the North of Ireland pay the second highest prices in all of Europe and if we are to attract and maintain these jobs then we must address the running costs such as energy and corporation tax.
"This decision has been taken following a number of non-profitable years, driven not by a successful range of products but by a combination of soaring energy prices and lost contracts leaving a srplus of milk.
"Energy needs to become an area of co-operation under the North-South Ministerial Council so that both energy Ministers in Ireland can work formally together to bring affordable energy provision for businesses and homes alike.
"My thoughts are with the employees and their families at this difficult time and we need to ensure that their rights are protected and every effort is made to find them alternative employment.”