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Pfizer to axe 785 jobs across Irish Republic

Viagra maker Pfizer, one of the Republic's biggest employers, is to lay off up to 785 workers.

The multinational, which bought competitor Wyeth last year and warned of thousands of job cuts around the world, told staff of the cuts in a series of meetings at its Irish plants.

The company said it will close two plants in Ringaskiddy, Cork, and a third in Dun Laoghaire, south Dublin. It also intends to reduce operations in Newbridge, Co Kildare.

Pfizer global manufacturing president Nat Ricciardi said restructuring the plant network worldwide was critical to remain competitive in the environment.

“We are keenly aware of the impact these types of changes have on employees and their families,” Mr Ricciardi said. “We will provide support to our colleagues who lose their jobs so that their transition to new careers is as smooth as possible.”

The cutbacks are part of the pharmaceutical giant's plans to reduce its global workforce by 6,000.

Management said the closures could take place at any time between 18 months from now and five years depending upon the complexity of operations, the amount of time required for product transfers and other business requirements.

Irish Enterprise Minister Batt O'Keeffe said the job losses were deeply regrettable.

He said he has called in the Republic's enterprise agencies to plan for re-training and re-employment for the workers affected.