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Cappoquin more evidence of government inability to innovatively tackle job losses

1 September, 2008

Sinn Féin Economic Spokesperson Arthur Morgan TD has described the appointment of a liquidator to Cappoquin Chickens "as a massive blow to West Waterford and East Cork and yet another example of the governments inability to innovatively tackle job losses particularly in regions outside of Dublin."

Deputy Morgan said:

"This morning's announcement that a liquidator has been appointed to Cappoquin Chicken's is a massive blow to West Waterford and East Cork. However there is now a short window of opportunity within which the company can be saved and every effort must be made by all stakeholders to explore all avenues to secure the company's future viability.

"In January of this year a delegation from the Oireachtas Trade Enterprise and Employment Committee of which I am a member concluded a two day visit to East Cork and Waterford. I proposed and secured the agreement of the committee to take on this job of work. Our objective was to assess what social, economic and infrastructural intervention was required of government for regional towns experiencing consistent job losses, primarily due to the decline in traditional employment sectors such as manufacturing.

"What is evident in the Oireachtas Committees report is the need for the government and its agencies to take a significantly more proactive and innovative approach to job creation, enterprise and employment.

"The report also highlighted a decline in the Irish poultry sector. It outlined a number of factors behind this analysis including the sharp increase in feed prices and Irish poultry's challenge in competing with Brazilian produce within the US market. There can be no doubt that like many small and medium size companies in Ireland energy and fuel costs are adding a significant burden to the poultry sectors operational costs.

"Cappoquin Chicken employ's 150 full time workers, 100 seasonal workers and 50 chicken and egg suppliers are totally dependent on the company for the sale of their own produce. This makes the company a substantial employer for West Waterford and East Cork.

"Government must act now to readdress the economic and social disadvantage of these areas due to successive Fianna Fáil led government's policy neglect. Throughout Ireland whole regions have been left behind. Government has not invested in the necessary infrastructure and service provision needed to build and promote a vibrant economy throughout the island.

"Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Mary Coughlan cannot continue to sit on her hands waiting it appears for jobs to simply land on the laps of those whose prospects of secure employment are most bleak.

"Despite economic indicators forecasting a continuing decline in manufacturing government has not prepared for this eventuality. Many of the employees affected have no experience of working in other sectors so it is imperative that the government opens up training and educational opportunities for them to begin work in other sectors. Upskilling and retraining must be part and parcel of the governments response to job losses." ENDS

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