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Sunday 17 December 2017

We'll do all we can to help staff find work -- O'Keeffe

Fionnan Sheahan and Dara deFaoite

THE head of a jobs taskforce to assist Quinn Insurance staff to find alternative employment will be appointed in the coming days.

Enterprise Minister Batt O'Keeffe met with the administrators to the group for the first time last night after the announcement of 900 voluntary redundancies in the insurance wing of the company.

Up until now, it would not have been appropriate for the minister to meet the administrators.

Mr O'Keeffe promised the Government would do "all in its power" to help those who lose their jobs to find new work. Mr O'Keeffe said he was in contact with job creation and training agencies, as well as Quinn employee representatives and local politicians.

But the minister was criticised by Fine Gael councillor Andrew Boylan for not coming to Cavan yesterday to meet with locals.

Mr O'Keeffe revealed the start of an "emergency government response" after the announcement of the job losses.

"I have met the relevant state job creation and training agencies and I have established an inter-agency team comprising Enterprise Ireland, FAS, IDA Ireland, relevant county enterprise boards, the Department of Social Protection and my own department officials," he said.

"In the coming days, I will appoint a chairperson of that team who will continue to drive activities so that we can put every support in place quickly in responding to the needs of all those affected."

The minister said information centres staffed by the state bodies were being set up in Cavan, Navan, Co Meath, and Blanchardstown in Dublin to support affected workers.

Fine Gael said jobs could still be saved if the right owner was found for Quinn Insurance.

Enterprise spokesman Leo Varadkar said no one should give up on the jobs and he believed at least some of these positions could be saved.

Irish Independent

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