Major blow as 570 people lose jobs
Pharmaceutical company MSD says 570 people are set to lose their jobs by 2017 as they wind down their operations in North Dublin.
The news will come as a major blow to the staff at the company based in Swords, North County Dublin.
In a statement released earlier today, the IDA said the move was "an outcome of MSD’s ongoing review of its worldwide manufacturing capabilities that has resulted in sites being sold, closed or consolidated in all regions all over the world”.
Commenting on the implications of the MSD decision, IDA Ireland Chief Executive Barry O'Leary said: “The pharmaceutical sector remains a significant employer in Ireland and Merck itself will continue to employ almost 2,000 people at sites across the country.”
“IDA is committed to working intensively with MSD on finding a buyer for the facility and creating alternative employment in the area. The extended lead-in time of 2017 will facilitate IDA Ireland greatly in finding a buyer.”
MSD said this proposed action would directly affect 570 people working for MSD at Swords but no employees will leave before mid – 2014 at the earliest.
In the second half of 2014 it is anticipated that approximately 130 people would leave the organisation and the remaining positions would be phased out over the following three years.
“Swords has been an important manufacturing site since 1990 and has a long history of operational excellence,” Tony Pusic, the company's site director said.
“The proposal to cease operations is not a reflection of the site’s performance or the highly skilled people working here."
"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 of the world," he said.
Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton said his "first thoughts are with the workers in Swords and their families as they face uncertainty after today’s announcement".
"Today’s announcement in no way reflects the quality of operations or the workforce in Ireland, but relates to a consolidation the company is engaged in globally to deal with excess capacity following the purchase of Schering Plough," Mr Bruton said.
He said the company and IDA will work "aggressively" to market this site.
He said the site "has a number of factors which make it attractive for potential purchasers as a going concern – including a strongly committed workforce, significant global demand for its technologies and a long lead-in time of over four years until the site is scheduled to be wound down".
Minister Bruton said "all the supports of the State" will be made available to workers affected.
MSD said as a result of the proposed sale or closure, the company plans to relocate products manufactured in Swords to MSD sites in the Netherlands, the US and Belgium, as well as to third-party manufacturers throughout Europe and the U.S.
Products manufactured at the site include prescription medicines in the area of women’s health, anesthesia and psychiatry.
MSD employs more than 2,000 people at sites in Carlow, Cork, Leopardstown, Tipperary and Wicklow. These sites are not affected by today’s announcement, the company said.
MSD announced the closure of the site in Rathdrum, Co. Wicklow in March 2013.
That site is expected to close by the end of 2015.