Bishop urges more investment in Irish firms after Novartis losses

Bishop urges more investment in Irish firms after Novartis losses

The Novartis job losses highlight “our enormous reliance” on global companies and the need for the state to invest more in Irish businesses, the Catholic Bishop of Cork and Ross believes.

Bishop Fintan Gavin was speaking as he celebrated Saturday’s Vigil Mass in the Church of Saint Mary and Saint John in Carrigaline —the parish most affected by last Wednesday’s shock announcement by Novartis that 320 jobs, almost half the workforce, will be axed from its Ringaskiddy operation over the next three years.

Bishop Gavin described it as devastating blow to the employees, their families and to the wider community.

“The fact that the announcement came suddenly and without warning to staff and to their families creates a huge insecurity and uncertainty for the many people employed in Novartis and others employed in the wider pharmaceutical industry, their families and local communities such as here in Carrigaline,” he told Mass-goers.

“Every effort needs to be made by government and the IDA to minimise the job losses, to support those who will lose their jobs, and to seek alternative employers to invest in the site.

“Carrigaline is just one of the communities that is now heavily dependent on the pharmaceutical sector and this announcement by Novartis highlights the danger of our dependence on global companies.

“As a nation, we have developed an enormous reliance on the pharmaceutical sector. We can easily forget that these industries and their parent companies are global businesses: researching, producing and competing in a global market.

As a nation, we need to ensure that our reliance on foreign direct investment does not lure us into a false sense of security. We need to invest more in our local indigenous industries and innovations.

The job losses will be implemented in phases from the two Novartis operations on the Ringaskiddy campus — the manufacturing plant and the business operations centre.

SIPTU officials who met company management on Thursday said they have been advised that there will be no job losses this year.

“Union representatives will be actively seeking alternative options in order to minimise these dramatic cuts and engaging extensively with Novartis management to try to provide more certainty of employment for our members,” a union spokesman said.

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