Black day for jobs as drug giant closes
HUNDREDS of families in north Dublin face an uncertain Christmas after healthcare giant MSD confirmed it is shutting its Swords plant.
The factory, which employs 570 people, is the second to be closed here by the company, once called Merck Sharp & Dohme, this year as the global drugmaker shifts operations to the Netherlands, Belgium and the US.
Around 130 staff will be made redundant in six months' time and the remainder will be "phased out" over three years.
The news came on a black day for jobs as it emerged that more than 350 posts are at stake after women's fashion retailer A-Wear was placed into receivership yesterday.
Both the MSD and the Government held out some hope yesterday following the devastating closure. "Where we have opportunities for people to move to other sites, we will," an MSD executive said.
MSD employs more than 2,000 people at other sites around Ireland. In March, MSD said that it would close a site in Co Wicklow by the end of 2015.
The remaining plants are in Carlow, Cork, Leopardstown, Tipperary and Wicklow.
These sites are not affected by the announced closure. MSD has been in Swords since 1990.
"The proposal to cease operations is not a reflection of the site's performance or the highly skilled people working here," said plant boss Tony Pusic.
"The proposal is an outcome of MSD's ongoing review of its worldwide manufacturing capacity that has resulted in sites being sold, closed or consolidated in all regions."
The IDA, the state body charged with attracting international firms to Ireland, will begin marketing the site as an up-and-running manufacturing operation, hopefully with its existing workforce in situ.
MSD said it would support finding a new company for the site.
"The company plans to work with IDA Ireland to aggressively pursue a buyer for the facility in order to potentially mitigate job losses," it said.
Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said other companies have found buyers.
"There are several recent examples of successes in selling sites as going concerns in the pharma sector in Ireland."
He cited the decision to sell factories and plants in Sligo, Dun Laoghaire and Waterford in recent years.
Fianna Fail jobs spokesman Dara Calleary said MSD's decision coupled with the news that Irish fashion retailer A-wear is in receivership is "a major blow for the economy".
"We are talking about the potential loss of 928 jobs at two of the country's major employers," said Mr Calleary.