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Fruit of the Loom announcement a crushing blow to Inishowen and the NorthWest region

16 September, 2004

Sinn Féin Donegal County Councillor, Pádraig Mac Lochlainn has described the news that the remaining 630 Fruit of the Loom jobs in Derry and Donegal are to go as a "crushing blow" to the economy of Inishowen and the NorthWest. The company today announced that the remaining jobs would be phased out over the next 4 to 5 years. They blamed the decision of the World Trade Organisation to remove quotas on imported products from the Far East from January 2005 for their announcement to relocate most of the Irish operation to Morocco.

The Donegal North East Sinn Féin representative said:

"This announcement is another kick in the teeth to the people of Inishowen and the North West region. Donegal has already lost 5,000 jobs over the last 8 years in the textile industry alone. We have unemployment levels four times the national average. How much more can we take?

"It is now six years since Mary Harney established the Donegal Employment Initiative or 'Task Force' following the initial job losses at Fruit of the Loom in 1998. The Task Force report set job creation targets of 815 net gains per year for the following seven years. Those targets are now a distant memory. Since then we have seen more and more job losses in every corner of Donegal. The Government has failed Donegal miserably. The powers that be in Dublin and Belfast have failed Donegal and Derry miserably. It is time for an all Ireland, cross border response to the jobs crisis in the NorthWest. It is time for a new vision."

"I would call on the people of Donegal to come out and protest at the failure of the Government to tackle the ongoing jobs crisis in the county. A rally will take place on Saturday September 25th in the Market Square, Letterkenny at 3pm with the theme of 'Jobs and Equality for Donegal'. That rally had already been organised following the 800 job losses at the UNIFI plant at Letterkenny. Following this announcement of another 630 job losses, it is even more important that a huge crowd comes out to protest and to ensure that the Government hears the true extent of the anger in Donegal and the NorthWest. " ENDS

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