27/08/2007

Mayors Of Clare And Shannon Express Fears Over Job Losses

The Mayors of Clare and Shannon have expressed their concern over the announcement of job losses at three regional manufacturing firms.

Their fears are heightened over the potential loss of the Shannon-Heathrow service.

The comments come after Mayor of Clare Patricia McCarthy said the loss of over 260 jobs at Analog Devices in Limerick, Rothenberger Ireland and Mohawk Europa in Shannon had set a dangerous precedent for other manufacturing operations in the Region.

The Mayor said: "Shannon has for many decades been the major hub for manufacturing in County Clare. Should the haemorrhaging of manufacturing jobs continue at its current pace I fear that the foundation for development in the County and wider region will be fatally undermined.

"It is perfectly clear to those who live in the Midwest that there are currently far more jobs being lost than created at the moment. The massive uncertainty created by the potential loss of direct access from Shannon Airport to the international hub in London Heathrow has heightened fears that other multinationals could follow suit by announcing job cuts or plans to relocate elsewhere.

"The Midwest Region has been accused by Aer Lingus, the Government and so-called aviation experts as having over-exaggerated the situation. This could not be further from the truth and I fear that we will witness more job losses in the coming months and years should the Shannon-Heathrow service be ceased indefinitely."

Sean McLoughlin, Mayor of Shannon, said: "While the link between this week's recent jobs losses in the Midwest and the current dispute over direct flights to London are unknown, it is imperative that the Government is reminded of the potential for further significant job losses in the future."

Mayor McLoughlin expressed concern that job losses were not being counteracted with the creation of new jobs. He said: "The recent job losses are all centred on the manufacturing sector.

A lot of these workers are highly trained in manufacturing and it is going to be extremely difficult for them to secure new employment in present day high-tech knowledge-based companies. I want to know what the Government is going to do about protecting existing jobs and generating new employment in the manufacturing sector."

"Thousands of jobs and millions of euro in regional investment are threatened as a result of the nonsensical decision by Aer Lingus to remove this vital service. Two other companies in Shannon have already spoken of the threat their businesses are facing following the decision and I fear that they are not on their own in that regard. The Government must now use its significant influence, as a major shareholder in the airline, to ensure the retention of a direct service from Shannon to London Heathrow."

(LC/SP)

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