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Several hundred jobs hit as HP Inc shuts Leixlip PC and printers facility

Global technology firm HP Inc is to shut its main operations in Ireland with the loss of several hundred jobs.

The multinational's facility in Leixlip, Co Kildare, focuses on products for the PC and printer market, which is under increasing pressure from the fall in traditional computer sales, the move away from printing documents and preference for tablet technology.

Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor said there had been extensive but unsuccessful talks with the company to avoid the closure of the plant.

"It is important for the workers to know that I have asked that all the supports of the state will be made available to any workers affected by this decision," she said.

The HP Inc plant is set to close by February next year.

Ms Mitchell O'Connor added: "I am in daily contact with the IDA and I have asked the agency to continue with their efforts to ensure jobs are delivered to the region.

"IDA will continue to work with the company in the time ahead to help secure a buyer for the Leixlip site. Securing investment for Kildare and the surrounding region is a continuing priority."

HP Inc said in a statement: "In line with our previously communicated strategy, HP's global print business is working to drive continuous efficiencies and cost savings that enable investment in new market opportunities and growth initiatives, such as 3D printing.

"As a result, we have made the decision to close our global print business at the Leixlip site.

"It is likely that close to 500 HP employees will be impacted and leave the business over the next 12 months."

Hewlett Packard split into two separate companies in 2015, HP Inc and Hewlett Packard Enterprise.

The latter focuses on new technology such as cloud computing, is unaffected by the announcement and continues to employ 2,100 staff at its sites in Leixlip, Galway and Cork.

Opposition politicians called for the Government to seek state and European supports for workers to get new jobs, retrain or upskill.

Labour's Alan Kelly said: "Efforts must also be made by the IDA to source a replacement industry for the region to deal with the jobs vacuum that will be left.

"We're entering into a time of major uncertainty with Brexit and the election of Donald Trump, and it is vital that Ireland is pitched as an attractive place to do business with a highly skilled workforce."

Local Fianna Fail TD Frank O'Rourke said: "The Government needs to put in place a multi-agency task force to assist workers in finding alternative employment."

HP Inc said the Leixlip facility has been an important site for operations over the last 20 years and that it has "a long history of valuable contribution, innovation and business excellence".

"This decision is not a reflection on our Ireland employees or on the site's performance," it said.

"We are very aware of the impact this decision will have on our employees in Ireland and we are focusing all of our efforts on supporting them, on identifying opportunities for them and on providing a programme to help them prepare for the transition ahead."

Hewlett Packard first set up a sales office in Ireland in 1976 and the Leixlip facility - a major employer in the Kildare region - was established in 1995, producing ink-jet printer cartridges and working on research and development.

Senior management from the company's head offices in Palo Alto, California, briefed employees at a meeting in the facility.

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