AN Irish-based meat company who employ hundreds of people in the Aeron Valley have insisted they will be creating more jobs in Wales, not less.

Dunbia Meats was responding to a Cambrian News report on fresh fears over the future of the company which employs around 600 people at its Llanybydder abattoir and 170 at a smaller plant in Felinfach.

However, the Dunbia statement stopped short of confirming that their Felinfach operation would be maintained, saying they ere "reviewing our factory footprint in Wales".

A spokesman said: “Media speculation about planned job cuts... is inaccurate.

“We have a long-standing and proud history as a major employer in Wales, and supporter of Welsh farming, which we plan to continue.

“Currently we have over 1,100 staff in Wales between our three facilities, and investment is likely to see the numbers employed increase rather than decline.”

“We are, however, reviewing our factory footprint in Wales. Felinfach is a leased facility, whilst Cross Hands and Llanybydder are flagship factories owned by the group, which have both seen significant investment in recent years and our future plans are to invest and grow these operations even further.”

Yesterday’s statement was prompted by speculation that the Felinfach plant will close soon which would mean Dunbia would not have to pay back a £2m Welsh Government grant they received five years ago.

There were also concerns that jobs may go at Llanydydder following the company’s recent merger with Cross Hands-based Dawn Meats.

The Cambrian News has learnt that Jonathan Edwards, MP for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, and Ceredigion AM Elin Jones attended an ‘urgent’ meeting with Dunbia at the Welsh Assembly on Tuesday.

In recent months there has been considerable speculation over the future of the firm which began life at a small butcher’s shop run by brothers Jim and Jack Dobson in Dungannon 40 years ago.

Back in March, Mr Edwards voiced alarm over unconfirmed reports that up to ten jobs had been lost at Llanybydder that fuelled speculation within the meat industry that Dunbia were on the verge of being taken over by a rival company.