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Government must step in to save Smurfit jobs - Doolan

18 January, 2005

Dublin South East Sinn Féin representative, Councillor Daithí Doolan has called for the Government to "step in and save the jobs at the Smurfits paper mill in Clonskeagh while at the same time making a valuable contribution fledgling recycling industry."

Cllr Doolan was reacting to news today that the plant is to close after 51 years in operation with the loss of 70 jobs. Over the years the company has provided local employment while playing its part to help the environment by using recycled paper. It is now due to close because the company claims the facility is no longer viable.

Speaking in Dublin today he said:

"Management at the plant have allowed a month for consultation with employee representatives and business partners. The Government must use this month to step in and save the jobs at the Smurfit paper mill in Clonskeagh while at the same time making a valuable contribution to the fledgling recycling industry.

"The lack of a market for recyclables has often been stated as an obstacle to recycling. Central government must intervene to create markets for recyclables. The Minister for Environment, Heritage & Local Government must introduce regulations under existing legislation to require a producer of a product to use recycled materials in the productions of the product, or by limiting the use of virgin material in such production.

"I would call on the Minister apply these regulations, in the first instance, to the use of used newsprint in the production of new newspapers. Creating such specifications will serve to create a market for recyclables therefore create a market for companies such as Smurfits while at the same time saving the state and councils the expense incurred in disposing of this waste.

"The bottom line is that the Government must learn from their mistakes of the past when dealing with companies such as the IGB in Ringsend when they failed to step in and missed the opportunity to save jobs and while at the same time helping the recycling industry." ENDS

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