As Cork textile factory workers lose jobs, Kerry company employs 50

AS the doors of an east Cork textile factory close for the last time, with the loss of 40 jobs, a major research and development facility will create almost 50 jobs in Kerry with the establishment of medical device company BeoCare.

With the support of Enterprise Ireland, BeoCare will incorporate a substantial R&D facility and develop and manufacture high value medical products in Killarney.

Ten of the 48 jobs, to be created over the next two years, will be directly involved in research and development activities.

Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Micheál Martin said: “This investment in market led research and development will help BeoCare anticipate and respond to the needs of its international customers and deliver innovative products.

Healthcare and life sciences are sectors in which we are developing strong clusters of dynamic Irish companies. “The development of companies like BeoCare in high value knowledge intensive sectors is a key element of Enterprise Ireland’s 2005-2007 Strategy Transforming Irish Industry,” he added.

Mr Martin said that growing the number of start-up firms is essential to developing and sustaining Ireland’s regional economies and is a major focus of Enterprise Ireland’s strategy.

“BeoCare’s location in Killarney will not only create jobs in the local area, but also generate spin-off economic activities which are very important in promoting regional development,” he said.

Manager of Enterprise Ireland’s High Potential Start-Up Unit, Kevin Sherry said: “Joseph Gallagher and the promoters of BeoCare bring extensive technical, commercial and market experience to this new high potential start-up.”

Meanwhile, 40 workers at an East Cork textile factory lost their jobs yesterday as Seafield Technical Textiles in Youghal closed its doors after nearly 60 years of operation.

Despite receiving over half a million euro worth of orders over the last few weeks, the factory has been forced to close because of competition from low-cost economies.

Managing director, John Parker said: ” It’s a sad day for us and of course for the town. There’s very few families here that didn’t have an association with the factory at one stage or another.”

Mr Parker said that it is very unlikely that the factory, which is up for sale, will continue as a textile mill.

The factory closed and reopened three times since it established in Youghal in 1946. Some staff have been working at the factory for almost 40 years, including maintenance fitter, Freddie Walsh, an employee with the company since 1958.

Mr Parker said: “Around 25% of the workers here have found jobs but others are still searching.”

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