Odlums is to close its commercial flour mill in Dublin at the end of March with a loss of 26 jobs.

Citing cheap imports from the UK as a reason for the closure, the company will retain its mill in Portarlington (Co Laois) which manufactures a range of consumer flour products.

Ger Cunningham, secretary of the Flour Confectioners and Bakers Association, which represents more than 100 bakeries and associated businesses, said: "It is a terrible shock. It is the last commercial flour mill left in the Republic of Ireland. That will mean more imports into the country and it may affect the price of flour in the long-term. If the English flour millers decide there should be a price increase, there will be no Irish miller here as an alternative."

Odlums is owned by Valeo Foods, which was established in September 2010, and UK company CapVest is a shareholder.

Significant excess milling capacity in the UK was imported into the Irish market at prices with which Odlums could not compete. The 75,000-tonne capa-city Odlums mill, in Dublin’s docklands, sells flour to several large plant bakeries in Ireland.