A Cashel councillor has called for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation Minister Richard Bruton to take the bold step of travelling to Johnson & Johnson’s US headquarters to persuade its top management to manufacture another product at its Cordis plant in Cashel.
Cllr Sean McCarthy, whose term as South Tipperary Co. Council chairman ended on Monday, said he believed a direct intervention by the Minister was vital to secure the factory’s future survival. The matter couldn’t be sorted from his office in Dublin.
“From my past experience, it is essential that he would consider going himself to Johnson & Johnson’s headquarters in New Jersey,” said Cllr McCarthy.
However, Fine Gael TD Tom Hayes responded that Minister Bruton has already been in direct contact with Johnson & Johnson in the US about the Cordis plant closure and met with representatives of the multi-national about the issue while he was in the US the week the closure was announced.
Minister Hayes said Cllr McCarthy’s call was “pointless” and added that IDA officials in the US, acting on behalf of the government, were also pressing the case for Johnson & Johnson to continue manufacturing at the Cordis facility.
The TD said a meeting between Minister Bruton and a deputation of local political representatives as well as Johnson & Johnson management will be arranged over the next few months.
Cllr McCarthy’s comments were made in the wake of a meeting between a delegation of Co. Council and Cashel Town Council senior managers and public representatives and David Kinahan, General Manager of Cordis in Cashel last Thursday.
Cllr McCarthy along with Mayor of Cashel Cllr Maribel Wood led the local authorities delegation.
At the meeting, County Manager Billy McEvoy promised the Council’s full co-operation and support in any way that could assist the company in locating a new facility at the Cashel campus.
Cllr McCarthy said they had nothing but praise for the way Johnson & Johnson was working to redeploy Cordis staff.
Cordis have set up a training/jobs search unit for Cordis workers at Bank Lane in Cashel in the past week providing information on job vacancies in its other operations in Ireland as well as job and training opportunities outside the Johnson & Johnson group.
Deputy Hayes, who visited the unit this week, said there as a lot of interest from Cordis employees in redeploying to other Johnson & Johnson facilities and he understood that redeployment was open to some of the 80 to 100 contract staff as wel as 133 permanent staff.
Deputy Hayes said from his discussions with Cordis management he was confident that a replacement manufacturing operation will be found for the plant but it will take about two years to happen.
Meanwhile, the Co. Council said another meeting between local authority management and Johnson & Johnson representatives will take place in the next few weeks while informal contacts would continue through the County Development Board working group comprising the IDA, Enterprise Ireland, FAS, local authorities and the VEC.