Liberty to axe 135 jobs in Blanchardstown

by Gazette Reporter
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A RANGE of Department of Social Protection income and employment supports will be available for Liberty Insurance workers following the announcement that 135 jobs will be shed at the Blanchardstown base, according to Social Protection Minister Joan Burton.
This comes as Cllr Jack Chambers (FF) called on Minister Burton and Health Minister Leo Varadkar to outline what the Government intends to do to support the workers.
“Both Ministers are extremely quick off the mark to claim credit for any positive job announcements. They must be equally eager when it comes to supporting their constituents who face job losses,” he said.
The company said the job losses were mainly due to a decision to exit the UK car insurance market but some are down to difficult trading conditions in Ireland.
Liberty chief executive Tom McIlduff said the company, which took over Quinn Insurance three years ago, is experiencing losses and will continue to do so for a number of years as it tries to stabilise its Irish operation.
He said the plan was to withdraw from the UK market, focus on Ireland and streamline its operating model to strengthen its competitive position.
Minister Burton said her thoughts were with the staff first and foremost as although it is a case of Liberty seeking voluntary redundancies, the news will have an impact on livelihoods and local businesses in Blanchardstown nonetheless.
“I would like to assure the employees of Liberty Insurance based in these three locations that officials in the Department of Social Protection will be available to provide advice on social welfare supports and entitlements should they decide to take voluntary redundancy,” she said.
The Department is currently arranging briefing sessions for Liberty employees.
At briefings of this type, officials from the Department advise the employees who opt for voluntary redundancies, on the Intreo process, jobseeker’s payments and redundancy entitlements as well as information on other schemes, including rent supplement.
Information is also given in relation to options and assistance available relating to returning to work, and in relation to short term enterprise allowance, as well as training and education options.
Minister Varadkar also said his thoughts were with staff and their families in the wake of the announcement, adding that it must be ensured that all the supports of the State are made available to everyone affected.
“The company is seeking voluntary-led redundancies over an 18-month period, which may at least allow some time for planning.
“There is also some consolation in the fact that employment levels in the area remain healthy. However, this does little to lessen the blow,”” he said.
He added that this announcement is a reminder that “we must maintain the jobs that we have, and create new ones wherever we can.
“I am assured that IDA and Enterprise Ireland will now step up their efforts to win new projects for the area.”

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