Business Minister travelling to Munster after more than 800 job losses announced in 24 hours

Business Minister travelling to Munster after more than 800 job losses announced in 24 hours

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has expressed his “deep regret” at the double announcement of job losses in Shannon and Cork, but insisted they are not linked and part of a wider problem.

Speaking during Leaders' Questions today, Mr Varadkar was responding to questions from Labour leader Brendan Howlin who sought answers as to what response will be forthcoming from Government to aid those affected.

Mr Howlin gave voice to the surprise expressed by many that Business Minister Heather Humphreys did not have any idea the job loss announcements were coming.

He criticised the lack of knowledge within Government given the Novartis review of its global operations has been ongoing for over a year.

Mr Varadkar said those who will lose their jobs will be entitled to a range of benefits from the State including jobseekers benefit and funds to enable them to go back to college and retrain.

The Taoiseach said Ms Humphreys has cancelled events today to travel to Shannon to meet with stakeholders in a bid to organise aid for those who have been let go.

Mr Varadkar said the Government will examine whether the job losses fulfil the criteria for the State to apply to the European Investment Fund but if the Novartis case does, then such an application it will be made.

At the commencement of Leaders' Questions, Mr Varadkar expressed his sympathy with the families of the 39 people found dead in a lorry container in Essex and said it is being investigated whether the lorry came through an Irish port on its way to the UK.

It has been reported that the lorry, which originated in Bulgaria, may have come through Holyhead port in Wales from an Irish port.

An Garda Siochana is currently liaising with British police to establish the facts of the apparent human trafficking tragedy.

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