Politicians demand jobs task force for Tipp town in wake of Pall closure

Jobs and lack of them was always going to be a big issue Town with 1,8000 people on the Live Register in Tipperary Town during this general election but the loss of over ninety more well paid, good jobs hashighlighted the jobs crisis in the town even more.

Jobs and lack of them was always going to be a big issue Town with 1,8000 people on the Live Register in Tipperary Town during this general election but the loss of over ninety more well paid, good jobs hashighlighted the jobs crisis in the town even more.

Oireachtas members and elected representatives were summoned to attend a special meeting in Tipperary town last Friday and this week they called for action to be taken to assist the people losing their jobs in the town.

Minister of State Martin Mansergh said he deeply regretted the proposed closure of the PALL Ireland manufacturing operations. "This is a serious blow to employment in Tipperary. Pall is the last multi-national employer in the town. I would like to express every sympathy with the workforce and their families. Obviously, I as a public representative and the IDA will urgently explore during the 30 day consultation period, whether there is any alternative that can save jobs," he said.

Minister Mansergh said that a difficult situation arose back in 2003, when some of the production lines were closed down and factory floor space was vacated.

"Unfortunately, inability to fill the vacant space may have been a factor in the eventual closure. At that time, a number of South Tipperary Oireachtas Members including myself travelled out to Pall Headquarters in New York State to meet management there to try and secure the remaining jobs, as it has turned out for another 8 years. I would be quite prepared to do so again, particularly before 9 March, if that would serve any useful purpose, I am calling on the IDA to enter into urgent discussions with the company, and also to give top priority to finding replacement employment, as Ireland remains attractive to US inward investment," said.

He said the forthcoming supply of natural gas to the town, the proximity of the national motorway network 12 miles away and other developments in the town should make Tipperary more attractive to investors. I will also be speaking as a matter of urgency to the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, Mary Hanafin," he added.

Deputy Mattie McGrath has expressed shock and disappointment at the news that Pall is proposing to wind down its Tipperary manufacturing operations.

"If this closure happens it will be a terrible blow for Tipperary town which has already been badly hit by the economic crisis. My thoughts are with the employees and their families affected by this" he said.

"This morning I have been in contact with the Department of Trade and Enterprise and have asked that a taskforce be put in place to deal with this proposed closure," he said. "In the meantime, the Department has assured me that the state enterprise agencies and FAS will be actively engaging with the workers to support them during this time and to consider retraining and reemployment options".

"There is no doubt that a longer term investment and innovation strategy needs to be developed for Tipperary town to ensure that we can retain and develop manufacturing business here. I believe that with the local Chamber of Commerce, local industry and the national support agencies working together, we can develop a workable and achievable strategy for industry in the town," said Deputy McGrath.

Senator Phil Prendergast said the closure of Pall Ireland in Tipperary town is a devastating blow to one of Ireland's unemployment blackspots.

"My first thoughts are with the workers and their families who are now facing into a bleak new year. The plans by Fianna Fil and Fine Gael to cut Jobseekers payments by €12 over the next two years must add to the worry for this respected and dedicated workforce.

"Pall has been operating in the town since 1997 and some of these workers gave the best years of their lives to the company.

Nearly 1,800 people were on the Live Register in Tipperary town in January – that's half the working population. Some 100 people joined the Register in December and now at least another 90 are set to join the dole queues when the plant is due to close in May," she said.

The Labour Senator said it was dreadful news for a local economy which has been ravaged by unemployment. Shops and services will feel the effects and the atmosphere in the whole town will be further deflated.

"Even during the boom years, Tipperary town suffered from government neglect.

This town needed services and promotion to bring investment. It needed a bypass to improve its links with ports and airports to make it attractive to exporting firms.

Instead, it became another of Ireland's towns forgotten by a government enthralled by international finance," she said.

The workers at Pall and all of Tipp town are the latest victims of a Fianna Fil party that lost its roots according to Fine GaelTD Tom Hayes

'This is a black day for Tipperary as 94 jobs will be lost at Pall Manufacturing Ltd in Tipperary'.

"This is terrible news for the staff, many of whom have given years of service to the company.

I would urge Pall Manufacturing to reconsider this sudden decision, as Tipperary town has suffered very badly from job losses during this recession," he said.

"Pall Manufacturing has been a significant employer in Tipperary. The company claims that the facility is operating at 'a fraction of the available capacity'. If that is the case, then why doesn't it expand operations? This would save jobs and also allow the facility to grow," said Deputy Hayes.