Mayor of Clonmel Billy Shoer has described 200 planned job losses at Abbott Vascular as a huge blow to the town.
“It is a huge shock and something we could have done without in the present economic climate”.
Abbott is Clonmel’s largest employer with a workforce of 1,400.
The medical devices firm announced on Thursday that it is seeking the redundancies from its permanent workforce.
It hopes that the redundancies can be achieved voluntarily.
The company says the lay-offs are part of adjustments to meet the evolving needs of the business and to remain competitive in a challenging global environment.
Mayor Shoer said that from talks with staff members before Christmas there were fears that lay-offs were possible but the news was still a shock when it arrived.
However he was hopeful that the job losses may be just tempoary and that the workers may be re-employed at some stage.
“I know that there’s a lot of rationalisation taking place and if this move helps to safeguard other jobs in Abbott then that is some consolation”, Mayor Shoer said.
Mayor Shoer, who is leading a Clonmel delegation to its twin town Reading in the UK, said he will be in touch with the County Manager to offer any support to the company that it may need.
Clonmel Chamber chief executive Brian Cleary stressed the strategic importance of Abbott to Clonmel.
Clonmel had escaped the worst of the industrial downturn in recent times but any threat to Abbott would sent shockwaves throughout the town.
“But I know that Abbott are committed to Clonmel and are involved in developing new products”, he said.
However the loss of 200 pay packets would have a significant impact on Clonmel at a difficult time.
Expressing sympathy with the workers who were to lose their jobs, Mr Cleary hoped that they could find new jobs in the area.
In addition to the 200 permanent jobs to go, a few dozen contractor positions will not be renewed when their contracts expire at the end of March. It is understood that a number of other contractor positions were lost before Christmas.
The company says that in the future, the Clonmel site will focus primarily on the manufacture of newer, advanced medical devices.
Capital investment will be made at the site this year to enable it to manufacture these innovative medical technologies.