Belfast Telegraph

Wrightbus closure: Residents fear Ballymena will become 'ghost town'

Tracy Carley and Sam Surgenor
Tracy Carley and Sam Surgenor
Pauline Kirk
Allan Preston

By Allan Preston

Residents have said they fear Ballymena has become a "ghost town" after the latest blow to local manufacturing.

Others raised questions over the donations of £15m from the company towards building a church and village complex in the Co Antrim town.

Daphne Kenny (38) owns a bridal shop close to the Wrightbus factory. "It's very worrying. Even though my business is specialised this affects everyone around here from food places and more," she said.

"At breakfast and lunch, you can't move around here with all the Wrightbus workers, so that will affect the whole town.

"Ballymena's a ghost town as it is full of charity shops, so what's going to entice people to come to it, especially in the run up to Christmas?"

Pauline Kirk from Coleraine, aged in her 40s, said: "I feel the company have nobody to blame but themselves.

"My husband did work with them for a couple of years but he got out before things got bad. It's very hard, I don't know what they're going to do now."

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Hairdressers Sam Surgenor (30) and Tracy Carley (21) said many of their customers include the families of Wrightbus workers.

Ms Carley added: "I've nothing against religion in any shape or form, but they put a wild amount of money into the church that they should have been putting back into the business."

Belfast Telegraph