Job losses in North West deplored


Serious concern has been expressed by the Council for the West at the rising spate of job losses in the North West region.


Reacting to a series of announced job losses, Sean Hannick, Chairman of the Council for the West, said the news would come as a sobering reminder that Government policies in relation to jobs in the region were not working.


"The Government some years ago promised to change policies to create a favourable bias in favour of job creation in the West and North West Region but this has patently not happened," he said.


He called on people in the region to speak out against the many defaults, and warned that worse was to follow if new initiatives were not pursued to ensure that traditional industrial jobs being lost to low cost economies would be replaced.


Mr Hannick said Donegal had been savagely hit yet again with the announcement from Magee Clothing that the business is closing with the loss of 60 jobs.


And he said Fruit of the Loom's confirmation that redundancies at its operations in Buncrana and Derry would begin ahead of schedule with the phasing out of 500 jobs during the first half of 2006, was another severe blow.


"This on top of the recently announced 560 job losses in Donegal town with the planned closure of the US company Hospira, which is relocating to Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic, demands a rapid response from the Government and its agencies," he added.


Mr Hannick said the growing crisis was underlined by the set-backs in Sligo where Saehan Media Ireland, which once employed 500, is to shut its factory with the loss of 91 jobs, while 59 jobs are to go at Platters Food company in the town, which plans to relocate to other Kerry Food outlets in the group.


Mr Hannick said the Government would have to grasp the situation by the back of the neck and look all the issues, including business costs, which were forcing many companies to look at their operations in Ireland.


"In the West and North West if we are losing jobs at a time when the economy is racing ahead surely it is predictable what will happen when the heat goes out of the economy," said Mr Hannick.


"And given that 3 out of every 10 jobs created in the region in the past few years are in the construction industry, the consequences of a  downturn are very real. The government must act quickly and decisively to honour its many pledges to the region by attracting sustainable jobs at the cutting edge of industry.


"The sad reality, however, is that the Government is over 3bn euro behind its National Development Plan target for infrastructual development in the BMW region and that has to have an adverse affect on the creation of new jobs, not to mind the maintenance of old job," Mr Hannick said.