Big boost for Rathdrum as new purchaser secured for MSD site
Animal health company Zoetis intends to phase in operations, beginning later this year, writes Myles Buchanan
Global animal health company Zoetis has purchased the old MSD Plant in Rathdrum and plan to gradually phase in operations at the site later this year.
The company manufactures antibiotics, vaccines and a range of other medicines for cattle, sheep, horses and domestic pets.
In 2013 MSD announced that it would be ceasing all operations in Rathdrum over a three-year period, resulting in the loss of jobs for 280 people. The plant closed in 2016, ending MSD's 55 year association with Rathdrum.
Local Rathdrum Councillor Pat Kennedy described last week's announcement as 'great news for Rathdrum and for County Wicklow'.
'I worked very closely with the previous owners and I hope to work just as closely with the new owners,' said Cllr Kennedy.
'It's great news for the larger Rathdrum economy as well. The town needs a bit of a kick-start and has suffered over the last number of years due to a lack of investment. I have to say the IDA worked very hard behind the scenes to try and secure a new owner. While the IDA did great work, I would still like to see further businesses coming to Rathdrum. We have a 23-acre industrial site here which would make an ideal location for large multi-nationals looking for somewhere to locate outreach offices.'
Zoetis haven't yet announced how many jobs will be created in Rathdrum.
They currently employ 75 people at facilities in Dublin and Tullamore.
Deputy Pat Casey also warmly welcomed the announcement.
'It was a big shock when MSD announced the closure of the site in 2013 so it is great to see that asset-stripping of the site will not take place. Judging from the EPA website, all the relevant licenses have been transferred. This purchase won't just provide jobs, it will also provide a boost to the overall economy in Rathdrum. Most of the former MSD staff got jobs but some might have to travel quite a distance to get to their jobs. Now they could find an opportunity to come to work in Rathdrum again.
'I also need to acknowledge the role the IDA played. They have been involved with MSD to try and secure an owner for the site. Credit to the IDA because they have always been there in the background trying to put a deal together.'
Frank Curran, the Chief Executive of Wicklow County Council, said the news was 'a clear indication that County Wicklow is "Open for Business".'
'I believe that Wicklow, with its easy accessibility and closeness to Dublin, is a highly attractive location for business and industry.
'The challenge for us is to provide high-quality jobs in Wicklow, both for newcomers and for those already living in the county. Significant resources have been put into providing the right environment to encourage employers to come to Wicklow and the council's Economic Development Unit will continue to market and promote County Wicklow and its towns as a location for enterprise and job creation,' said Mr Curran.
The Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council, Cllr Edward Timmins, said: 'This news will bring a much-needed boost to the people of Rathdrum and the wider community and will promote and strengthen the economic vibrancy of the town and also enhance the quality of life for the people who live there. I wish the new company every success with their operations.'
Health Minister, Simon Harris, feels the sale will open up new opportunities for Rathdrum and Wicklow.
'It was a terrible blow for the area when MSD closed it's doors in 2013. The community has rallied however it was clear that a replacement employer in the site would be vital,' said Minister Harris.
'This sale will open up new opportunities for Rathdrum and Wicklow. Just last week, we turned the sod on a new housing development in Rathdrum, it is vital that we continue to develop the infrastructure around Wicklow in order to attract investment like this,' he said.