18/05/2010

Pfizer Axes Almost 800 Irish Jobs

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has today announced it is to shut down three of its Irish facilities and reduce operations at a fourth, resulting in the loss of 785 jobs.

Pfizer said it plans mean closing operations at its solid-dose plant in Loughbeg and biotechnology plant in Shanbally, both in County Cork, while it will also shut its aseptic facility in Dun Laoghaire, Dublin.

Responding this morning, Enterprise Minister Batt O'Keefe said the move was "deeply regrettable" adding the Government would do all it could to aid those affected.

"The State's job creation and training agencies, including FÁS, Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland and the relevant County Enterprise Boards, will provide every possible support to the workers and the company in managing the impact of today's announcement," Mr O'Keeffe said.

He added: "I have asked IDA Ireland to begin the search for other major players in the life science sector to take over the facilities in Loughbeg and Shanbally in Cork and Dún Laoghaire in Dublin over the 18-month to five-year closure period set by PGM."

Meanwhile, the company said it would make a "concerted effort" to find buyers for all three sites earmarked for closure.

Today's announcement also included a plan to reduce operations at its solid-dose facility in Newbridge, Co Kildare.

The job cuts are expected to come into effect over the next 18 months to five years.

Labour's spokesperson on Community and Rural Affairs, Jack Wall said the job losses represented a massive blow to the workers and to the local economy.

Mr Wall said: "This area has lost many jobs in the traditional manufacturing sector, but the Pfizer jobs were regarded as well paid positions, high up the employment value chain.

"It is time that Brian Cowen and his colleagues now gave unemployment the priority it deserves. Creating jobs is the key to getting our economy moving again. We need a far more proactive approach by the government who should take on board proposals the Labour Party has made such as the creation of a Strategic Investment Bank and a Jobs Fund."

(DW/GK)


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