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Monday 27 February 2017

Tanaiste is yet to arrange Cadbury meeting

Michael Brennan Political Correspondent

TANAISTE Mary Coughlan has still not arranged a meeting with the US multi-national that took over Cadbury to discuss the future of its 1,100 employees here.

Ms Coughlan had promised almost two weeks ago that she would be seeking a meeting with Kraft chief executive Irene Rosenfeld due to concerns that jobs in its plants in Coolock, Dublin, and Rathmore, Co Kerry, were at risk.

A spokesman for Ms Coughlan said the meeting was likely to be held "within weeks" as soon as a business plan was completed by Enterprise Ireland.

This plan is likely to involve state funding to upgrade the technology at the company.

"Every effort is being made to secure the maximum number of jobs in Ireland," the spokesman said.

The Cadbury plant in Rathmore manufactures chocolate crumb -- the basic ingredient for all Cadbury chocolate products around the world.

The opposition parties had highlighted the fact that British trade secretary Peter Mandelson held a meeting with Ms Rosenfeld immediately after it announced its takeover of Cadbury.

Targets

But Ms Rosenfeld announced the closure of the Cadbury factory in Bristol the following week, with 400 redundancies.

In the Dail on February 4 last, Ms Coughlan had promised to seek a meeting with Ms Rosenfeld in the coming weeks. But she admitted it would be difficult to make a case for Cadbury's operation in this country to stay at the same levels after the takeover.

"I have been advised that it will be a difficult task to make the case for Cadbury sustainability in Ireland in the context of the overproduction and oversupply that will arise from the takeover," she said.

Trade union Unite had opposed a takeover of Cadbury by Kraft, saying the US company would need to lay off tens of thousands of workers to achieve its savings targets. It described the sale as a "very sad day" for Irish manufacturing and the company. It was not available for comment last night.

The deal marked the end of independence for a British institution, built 186 years ago when John Cadbury opened a shop in Birmingham selling tea and cocoa.

Irish Independent

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