A COMPANY is flying in 50 Estonian workers to pluck Irish turkeys for Christmas, despite the record level of unemployment.
Grove Farm is the biggest producer of turkeys in the country at its factory in Smithborough, Co Monaghan. It is recruiting the workers for the busy three-week period in the run up to Christmas Day.
But the firm has come under fire from local politicians for not recruiting more local workers -- having laid off 75 people from its workforce less than a year ago.
Sinn Fein Cavan-Monaghan TD Caoimhghin O Caolain said he believed that all the jobs could be filled locally.
After the complaints, the company yesterday announced that it would be implementing a partial change of recruitment policy due to "the huge increase of unemployment in Ireland".
It said that it would be cutting the number of workers flown in from Estonia from 160 last year to 50 this year -- and would instead be hiring around 180 other local workers.
Grove Farm managing director Thomas O'Driscoll said last night that the 50 Estonian workers were being hired because they had built up specialist skills -- and not because they were cheaper.