Thursday 13 December 2018

Job losses are 'devastating' for the area, say community leaders

Maria Herlihy

For Duhallow to lose one job is "harsh" but to lose 24 is absolutely "devastating." 

That was the view of Jerry Hickey, chairman of Kanturk Community Council on the announcement by Packo Blackwater Ltd that it will close their assembly facility by mid September.

Mr Hickey said: "This is devastating for the workers and their families in this region. I thought the company was doing well. It really is a dark day for Kanturk and it is a disaster."

He said over the years a number of jobs have been lost in the region, including Keating's Bakery, the Sugar Factory  as well as shops in the town of Kanturk. "Kanturk needs every job it can get, otherwise what towns will end up being is commuter towns. People will have to travel for work and all of that has a direct effect on a town. This really is devastating news for the workers and their families," he said.

Dan Duane, president of Kanturk Chamber of Commerce, said that the announcement of the loss of 24 jobs is "very sudden and a shocking development."

"The planned cessation of manufacturing in September at Packo, a company that has provided employment to Kanturk and surrounding areas for many decades, is devastating news for all those working there and their families," he said.

Mr Duane was of the view that it is "imperative that the Government does all in its power to facilitate those working there in any way possible and to focus attention on further developing the Kanturk area."

Cllr Gerard Murphy (FG)  said that the loss of jobs is very difficult for the majority of the employees who will be affected.

"This has happened at this plant in the past, owing to the changes in the dairy industry, but it recovered some years ago and many of the staff were re-employed. But this time around it's very different as most of the business is being transferred back to Belgium, which leaves little hope of revival of the business in Kanturk," he said.

"Hopefully, an opportunity may arise to establish a more sustainable industry on this site and at this time I believe that Enterprise Ireland and the IDA must immediately examine this possibility as there is a huge facility at Packo," he said.

Cllr Bernard Moynihan (FF) said he was greatly saddened for the workers and their families with many who have given many years of service.

"I feel that the IDA really needs to target Duhallow for direct investment," he said.