Liam Neeson spearheads campaign to bring jobs back to Ballymena
Hollywood star Liam Neeson has added his voice to a campaign to bring jobs back to his home town in Northern Ireland after a spate of major redundancies.
Neeson has recorded a video message urging people to attend a trade union organised rally in Ballymena, Co Antrim, on Saturday.
Fellow Ballymena-born actor James Nesbitt is also backing the call for more investment in a once-thriving town that has witnessed a series of large-scale job losses in recent years.
The announced closures of a Michelin tyre factory and the JTI Gallaher cigarette plant have left more than 1,600 workers facing unemployment.
The Rally for A Future event on Saturday is organised by the union Unite.
In his video message, Taken star Neeson said: "Hello, I am Liam Neeson - a proud Ballymena man. I am backing the demand for jobs and investment for Ballymena.
"I am asking you to attend the Rally For A Future at the Ballymena bandstand at noon on February 6. February 6 - please be there."
Cold Feet star Nesbitt also sent a message of support.
"I share the pain of the loss of so many jobs following the announced closure of the JTI Gallaher and Michelin factories in Ballymena," he said.
"While my career has taken me far from home, I've always had a great affection for the town and its people.
"The loss of these well-paying and stable jobs not only threatens those affected directly and their families, but will have a devastating impact on the wider economy and community.
"We must seize this moment to show Ballymena and Northern Ireland's ambition to be a highly sought after centre for international business."