Minister silent on proposed Waterford Wedgwood bail-out

The Enterprise Minister, Mary Coughlan, has refused to say whether the Government will guarantee a loan to the struggling Waterford Wedgwood company.

The firm announced last week that it is to shut its Waterford plant for up to three weeks.

The closures, which are to be staggered over the next two months, follow the company's decision last year to cut 490 jobs.

Waterford Wedgwood has appealed to the Government to guarantee it a €39m loan to secure the remaining 550 jobs.

Ms Coughlan confirmed she would be talking to the company this evening, but wouldn't comment on what might be discussed.

"People are aware that an approach was made to the government some time ago," the minister said,

"Those matters have been examined.

"There are policy implications, EU implications and concerns naturally, and I must empathise with the concerns of the people in Waterford.

"It would be inappropriate for me, prior to speaking with the company, to make any public pronouncement."

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