The Covid-19 pandemic has seen the loss of up to 200 jobs in two companies in Cork and Kerry.
Jam the café, delicatessen and artisan food company had employed 87 people across four outlets in Kenmare and Killarney in Co Kerry and Ballincollig and the Kinsale Road in Cork.
Shut down due to the Covid-19 lockdown, staff have now been told it is not re-opening.
Jam opened in Kenmare 20 years ago. The popular food company’s kitchen factory is located in the town and the total job loss in Kenmare alone is 45. The company has not commented.
Meanwhile, a 15% staff cut under a voluntary redundancy scheme is being sought by the foreign exchange and global finance company Fexco headquartered in Killorglin and with offices in Cahersiveen.
It is expected the cuts will amount to 150 jobs locally. Pay cuts have already been implemented.
Travel bans imposed by many countries, because of Covid-19, had badly impacted Fexco which exchanges currencies and processes VAT refunds for tourists.
Kenmare councillor Patrick O’Connor-Scarteen said the loss of Jam in Kenmare is “a massive blow” to the town and the cuts sought by Fexco would severely impact the Kenmare Municipal District and mid-Kerry.
Jam had provided excellent food and quality service with friendly, efficient and hard working staff, he noted.
“These are the first big blows in Kerry, ” the Kenmare councillor said adding that Government support would play a big role in the new social distance economy in south and mid-Kerry.
Small to medium business are “the heart and soul of towns” and are already struggling with rates, rent, insurance and over-regulation even before Covid-19, he said. They need greater support from local and central Government. Re-start grants of €2,000 to €10,000 are not enough.
Meanwhile a lowering of the VAT rate to 9% is needed to help the hospitality sector, Kerry TD and Minister of State for Tourism, Brendan Griffin has told Radio Kerry.