US sanctions affecting Limerick refinery Aughinish Alumina look set to be lifted, after a bid to stop their removal was defeated in the US senate.
emocratic senators didn’t get the votes needed to block the US Government’s plan to lift the sanctions.
The sanctions hit Aughinish because they were imposed on its parent company - Russian business Rusal, which has links to oligarch Oleg Deripaska.
Mr Deripaska is an ally of US President Vladimir Putin, who has been accused of meddling in the 2016 US presidential election.
Mr Deripaska agreed a deal with the US treasury department whereby he would reduce his stake in Rusal to have the sanctions lifted.
The deal was agreed because US Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the sanctions were designed to damage Mr Deripaska, rather than his companies in particular.
Some 450 people are employed at the Aughinish refinery, which had previously warned that the sanctions could cast doubt on the plant’s future.