By John Murphy
IN the wake of the latest in an ongoing series of job setbacks in Carrick-on-Suir, local Opposition TDs yesterday demanded immediate Government action to redress what they insist has become a crisis situation.
The south Tipperary town is reeling under Wednesday’s shock announcement that the Sram bicycle component manufacturing company is to close its local plant within nine months with the loss of 53 jobs.
With almost 900 people on the unemployment register in the town last December, this latest setback will push the total closer to the 1,000 figure.
That represents an unemployment rate in excess of 20%, which makes Carrick-on-Suir one of the worst unemployment blackspots in the country.
"These are alarming statistics," Fine Gael TD Tom Hayes said, "and they demand an immediate Government response.
"I am especially calling on the relevant minister, Micheál Martin, to become pro-active about sourcing alternative employment for the Sram employees who will be out of a job."
Independent TD Séamus Healy said there is an absolute necessity for the Government to set up a task force that will address the deepening unemployment crisis in Carrick-on-Suir.
"The unemployment figure of 890 for the town last December was bad in itself, but adding a further 53 jobs to that list will make the situation even worse," Mr Healy said.
The Sram announcement that it is to close down its operation in the town came as a complete surprise for the local community.
The company came to Carrick-on-Suir 11 years ago, with cycling legend Sean Kelly playing a significant role in securing the plant for his hometown.
A brief statement from the company said the decision has been taken so that Sram can continue to offer a competitive product and service to their customers in the face of direct competition from Far East-based suppliers to the European market.
The company has also stated that its European management and back office activities will continue to operate from an as yet unnamed location in the south-east region.
Of the 53 jobs affected at the Carrick-on-Suir plant, 31 are permanent and 22 temporary.