Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 September 2014

Mid-west firms lay off 200 workers

Defence Minister Tony Killeen said mid-west Ireland should remain as a location of choice for global businesses

More than 200 workers are to be laid off at two leading mid-west firms with one company warning costs were too high.

Aircraft maintenance firm Shannon Aerospace is to lay off 107 workers, mostly management, at its Shannon Airport base. And publisher Elsevier, which makes scientific, technical and medical information products and services, will let 100 staff go.

Tony Killeen, defence minister and Clare TD, said he asked enterprise minister Batt O'Keeffe to promote Shannon and the mid-west on an enterprise delegation to the US this weekend. He said: "Every effort must be made at local and national level to ensure that the Shannon Free Zone maintains its position as the location of choice for global businesses across a variety of industries."

Thomas Rueckert, Shannon Aerospace's managing director, said the cuts were vital to improve competitiveness in order for the business to survive.

"This is the most difficult day ever experienced by Shannon Aerospace in its 20-year history," he said. "The company is known as a centre of excellence for training and aircraft maintenance provision and for many years experienced excellent levels of growth."

Shannon Aerospace will lay-off three senior managers, 20 other managers, 64 staff in administration and support, including logistics, engineering, planning, and 20 production technicians.

Elsevier, also based in Shannon, said all but eight of its staff were being laid off. Managing director Brendan Curtin said the company was reducing the number of locations it operated in.

Despite the job losses in the mid-west, elsewhere four companies announced a total of 190 new jobs.

Among the investments were 70 positions at Irish-owned telecomms firm JUST Mobile over the next two years as it rolls out the country's next pre-paid mobile phone service. It will be available in 650 Spar, Spar Express, Eurospar, Mace and XL outlets in 500 towns and villages around the country.

Jan O'Sullivan, Labour TD for Limerick East, called for a plan to be developed for the Shannon region. She said: "In recent years, we have seen the numbers of passengers and the number of flights at Shannon Airport decline sharply, and this has had the effect of accelerating the economic decline of the region."

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