Lakeland Dairies is planning to expand the milk powder production capacity at its facility in Bailieboro, Co. Cavan, Ireland.

The proposed expansion will see around €36m in investment.

Work under the expansion includes the installation of a new milk drying facility with a capacity to produce 7 tonnes of milk powder every hour.

Lakeland Dairies’ chairman Alo Duffy said: "When EU milk quotas are abolished this year, Lakeland Dairies’ milk producers will have the freedom to increase milk output in line with continuing and future growth in global demand for dairy products.

"Lakeland Dairies is focussed on the creation of a bright and sustainable future for our milk producers. This includes investments in modern and streamlined plants which guarantee an expanded milk processing capacity and provide the flexibility to meet global market needs."

During the building, installation and commissioning phases, the new processing facilities will create close to 180 construction jobs.

The expansion is expected to be completed in 2016.

The project will increase the company’s milk powder production capacity from the current 80,000 tonnes to 130,000 tonnes.

Besides milk powder, Lakeland Dairies also produces 24,000 tonnes of butter.

Ireland Minister for Arts, Heritage and The Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys said: "The agri-food sector is a vital source of employment in Cavan and Monaghan, so I am delighted to see that Lakeland Dairies is planning to maximise on the opportunities offered by the abolition of milk quotas later this year.

"Companies such as Lakeland are very important to the economy in rural areas like Bailieboro. This announcement will provide a boost to the other local businesses and to the wider region. The Government is committed to supporting the agri-food sector, which will play an increasing important role as jobs growth continues in the regions."