Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has called on Kerry Group to exhaust all avenues possible before proceeding with 31 redundancies at Kerry Foods in Carrickmacross.
Carthy said the loss of these jobs would have a severe, negative impact on the workers, their families and the local community. He said that if job losses were inevitable the company should introduce a voluntary scheme rather than the mooted forced redundancies.
“Kerry Foods has been a stable employer of local people in Carrickmacross for many years and a vital component of the local economy. Therefore I have written to Kerry Group urging that all avenues are exhausted before they proceed with lay-offs which will, of course, have a severely negative impact on the workers affected, their families and the local community.
“As an MEP for Midlands North West and a previous Carrickmacross based Councillor, I know too well of the devastation that high numbers of redundancies can have. There will naturally be concerns that other redundancies may follow. As a member of the European Parliament I am eager to be of any possible assistance and I have offered to do anything I can politically to avoid any lay-offs at this crucial time.
“If the loss of 31 jobs is unavoidable I would urge the Kerry Group to put in place a voluntary redundancy scheme as opposed to the mooted mandatory redundancy scheme. It is clear that a voluntary scheme is the preference of the local workforce and will ensure a healthy and productive atmosphere among the remaining employees.
“Kerry Foods is held in high esteem in Carrickmacross and surrounding areas and with the maintenance of good will, the Kerry Group could significantly limit the potential for distress and disruption among employees and the local community.
“I am also calling on the government and particularly the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys to intervene in this situation. I have been highlighting regularly that border counties such as Monaghan are particularly vulnerable to the threat of Brexit. The Kerry Foods factory in Carrickmacross is right in the Brexit firing line, as it produces frozen prepared meals which are sold directly to Britain.
“It has been clear for some time that the Government has no strategy to create or retain employment in the border region. There was only one IDA visit to Co. Monaghan last year. Recently, Minister Humphreys recently stated that the Government had contingency plans for Brexit and that the scale of forecast shocks to the Irish economy would not be realised. Many people living in the border region are not yet convinced.
“I am calling now on the Minister to directly engage with Kerry Group to offer any support necessary in order to protect all jobs at the Carrickmacross plant. An intervention from the Minister joining my call on the company to avoid forced redundancies would also be helpful at this time.”