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Job losses at Cappoquin a devastating blow to West Waterford

16 September, 2008

Sinn Féin Waterford Councillor David Cullinane has described the announcement of the closure of 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. Mr. Cullinane added that the “impact of this closure cannot be understated with far reaching consequences for the West Waterford area.” 


Speaking today David said:


"Today’s announcement of the closure of Cappoquin Chicken's is a massive blow to West Waterford and East Cork. My thoughts at this time are with those who have lost their jobs. The impact this closure will have on the entire West Waterford region cannot be understated. This is devastating for the workers and their families and for suppliers solely dependent on the plant. The Government must immediately act to provide assistance to those who have lost their jobs and create alternative employment in the area.


"In January of this year a delegation from the Oireachtas Trade Enterprise and Employment Committee of which Sinn Féin T.D. Arthur Morgan is a member concluded a two day visit to East Cork and Waterford. Arthur proposed and secured the agreement of the committee to take on this job of work. The 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. Supports also need to be put in place to develop and grow Ireland’s domestic export market.


"What is evident from the Oireachtas Committees report is the need for the government and its agencies to adopt a 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. The issue of Country of Origin labelling must also be immediately addressed as it is creates an unfair playing field for Irish producers supplying the food industry.


“Government must act now to readdress the economic and social disadvantage of these areas. 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. Upskilling and retraining must be part and parcel of the governments’ response to job losses." ENDS

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