Government urged to act as job losses mount

by Gazette Reporter

POLITICIANS in north Dublin are calling on the Government to take urgent action following the news that 570 people are to lose their jobs at local pharmaceutical company MSD.

MSD recently informed employees at its Swords facility of its proposed plan to cease operations at the site by the end of 2017.

This proposed action would directly affect 570 people working for MSD in Swords as the plant will shut down on a phased basis between now and 2017.

Cllr Darragh Butler (FF) described the news as “terrible” for the employees of MSD and their families especially with the announcement coming so close to Christmas.

“Our first thoughts have to be with them,” he said. “The Government agencies must get together and use the timescale built into this to bring replacement industries to Swords.

“This of course will also have a huge knock-on effect on Swords and north Dublin businesses who the employees would have supported over the years.”

Deputy Clare Daly (Ind) has said the announcement is a “tremendous blow”.

“The Government need to intervene to save jobs or find alternative employment for these workers,” she said.

“These job losses will be a significant blow to the people of Swords coming on top of increased emigration, homelessness and poverty as well as the extraction of an unjust home tax. I hope that these workers make a stand to defend their jobs. I and the people of Swords will stand behind them.”

Senator Darragh O’Brien (FF) said the announcement was a “hammer blow” to north Dublin.

“MSD is a major employer in the area and these are highly skilled jobs so the closure of the plant would be a huge loss.

“The fact that the plant will not cease all operations until the end of 2017 means there is time for the Government to engage proactively in sourcing alternative investment or a potential buyer for the plant.

He added: “I am calling on the Government to ensure the State agencies, the IDA and Enterprise Ireland, backed-up by support from Minister Richard Bruton get involved immediately.”

Minister for Health Dr James Reilly also expressed his shock at the announcement saying it was “deeply upsetting” for the workers in the plant and their families.

Relief

“While it is some relief that workers are being given advance notice and that plans for jobs losses are on a phased basis, it is nonetheless a potential body blow for the town of Swords and north Dublin in general. I wish to express my deep concern for the workers and their families and I pledge to play my part to make certain that the Government takes all appropriate action for the future of the plant and to ensure that jobs are saved.”

Minister Reilly said he would also encourage people to keep up hope.

“These jobs aren’t lost yet and the Government has had success in securing investment to avert job losses in the past.”

Deputy Brendan Ryan (Lab) said the announcement has highlighted that the country is “not out of the woods yet”, despite recent improvements in national employment figures.

A spokesperson for MSD said the proposed action is an outcome of MSD’s ongoing review of its worldwide manufacturing capabilities and is representative of the company’s global initiative to sharpen its commercial and R&D focus and improve overall operational effectiveness.

In other job-related news, a local area representative in north Dublin has described the closure of the A|wear store in Swords as completing a “dreadful day” for jobs in the north Dublin area.

Duncan Smith, Labour local area representative for Swords, said the news that 10 jobs were hanging in the balance at A|Wear at the Swords Pavilions Shopping Centre, was “very worrying” for staff and their families.

The news came on the same day that it was announced that 570 jobs would be lost at MSD, which is also based in Swords.

“The job losses in [MSD] have shocked the town of Swords but no less shocking for the workers of A|Wear was the news that the store would be shut until an examination of the store’s profitability by receiver Ken Fennell of Kavanagh Fennell is complete.

“A|wear is one of the flagship stores in the Pavilion shopping centre and this is desperate news to receive as we enter the busiest shopping month of the year. It was hoped that A|wearcould trade its way out of difficulty but it is disappointing to hear that some stores will definitely close,” he said.

“I hope that the store in the Pavilions passes the profitability test and can re-open and save the jobs at this store.”

In a statement released by the company last week, it was confirmed that the examinership of Latzur Limited, trading as A|Wear, had failed and, as a consequence, the secured charge holder of the business appointed Ken Fennell of Kavanagh Fennell as receiver to the business.

A|wear had been trading under examinership since October.  The purpose of the examinership was to restructure A|wear so as to put the business on a sustainable footing, and to protect as many jobs as possible. In the weeks following this process, sales projections for the business did not materialise and no viable investment proposal was forthcoming, leaving the business with no option but to seek the appointment of a receiver.

The female fashion brand has 31 retail locations in Ireland and nine concession stores in the UK. The business employs 358 staff across its locations and head office, which is based on Grafton Street.

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