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Over 140 jobs at risk as crisp factory to shut


Tayto crisps

Tayto crisps

Tayto crisps

A crisp company boss said he had 'no choice' but to close a factory with the possible loss of up to 142 jobs.

Largo Foods, makers of Tayto and Hunky Dory crisps, will shut its plant in the Donegal Gaeltacht later this year causing 'huge devastation' in Gweedore.

Seventy workers are to be offered positions at the company's plant in Ashbourne, Co Meath.

"We have to protect our business and the 360 jobs in Meath," Largo's chief executive Maurice Hickey told the Irish Independent yesterday.

"Around 85pc of our output from Donegal is exported to the UK where we are competing with snack food manufacturers who have a much lower cost base and that's before we factor in transport."

He said he hoped "as many employees as possible" would take up the Meath job offers.

Many workers, however, said the idea of commuting or moving to Meath was impossible.

"How can I move there?" asked mother-of-three Gretta Scott as she choked back tears.

"It is just not feasible. We all have mortgages and children and there is nothing else out there."

Machine operator John McFadden said he may have "no choice" in the matter.

"I have four children, and two of them are at college and when you have mouths to feed what else can you do?"

There has been a crisp factory in Gweedore for four decades, operated for the past 18 years by Largo.

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"This is the biggest employer by far in the area and people are just in complete shock," said Sinn Fein TD Pearse Doherty, who lives nearby.

"This is like Dublin losing thousands of jobs on the same day. It will have a serious knock-on effect".

Largo was given a €600,000 cash injection by Udaras na Gaeltachta two years ago.

Mr Hickey said any monies due back to the semi-state organisation would be paid.

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