Belfast Telegraph

MLA in drive to save haulage depot

By Victor Gordon

An MLA in Co Armagh is trying to persuade a haulage company to retain its depot in Portadown.

William Irwin, Assembly member for Newry and Armagh, has started a campaign to persuade Montgomery Distribution to keep its branch at The Dobbin area, between Portadown and Richhill, and abandon plans to centralise at its Newtownabbey headquarters.

Mr Irwin said: “Staff in Co Armagh are extremely worried about the plans, and while I understand that there will be no enforced redundancies among the 83 staff, it will cause much inconvenience.

“Some staff start at six in the morning, and if they have to make the 40-mile journey to Newtownabbey, it will add a lot to their working day. The only way is by car, which will certainly add to the expense.

“Jobs are so precious and difficult to find in the credit crunch, and they will have little option. Alternative employment simply isn’t available in this area right now.”

The reported date of the move is February, and Mr Irwin said that the firm had, so far, failed to respond to his phone calls.

“But I plan to write and to take this up at ministerial level in the Assembly,” he said.

“Drivers, checkers, admin staff and mechanics are among the people affected.”

The depot has been in existence for more than 30 years. Dukes Transport occupied the site until it was taken over by Montgomery Distribution in the 1990s.

Montgomery Distribution declined to comment.

Belfast Telegraph