217 workers axed as jobs crisis deepens

MORE THAN 100 workers at Diamond Engineering Ltd in Limerick and a further 100 in Dublin are destined to join the ranks of the unemployed.

The Blanchardstown-based electronics company Teradyne is to let 100 workers go over the next three to six months. The Dublin company’s vice president of corporate relations, Tom Newman, confirmed the job losses yesterday.

The 117 job losses in Kilmallock bring to more than 13,000 the number of people laid off in the past seven weeks.

Many of the workers were in tears yesterday when management announced the shock closure, which was blamed on the increased cost of production, soaring insurance costs and the downturn in the global economy.

Fine Gael’s Dan Neville described the loss of 117 jobs as devastating for the town of Kilmallock, which had not benefited from the Celtic Tiger.

“I am calling on the Tánaiste, Mary Harney, to immediately set up a task force to find a replacement industry for Kilmallock, given the level of expertise, skill and commitment of the management and staff in this company over many years.”

Seamus Buckley, managing director of Diamond Engineering Ltd, which manufactured pressure vessels and storage tanks for the pharmaceutical industry since 1985, said: “The management and dedicated workforce are all devastated by the closure announcement. All the staff will be paid all their statutory entitlements when a liquidator is appointed on August 5 next.

“We had a very good business but when the British-based Independent Insurance Company went into liquidation in 2001, they were left with a number of significant claims which we had to resolve ourselves.”

Mr Buckley said the level of business in the company had dropped completely in the past 12 months.

“Every effort was made to try and save the industry, including the restructuring of the finances of the company. It was a sad occasion for everybody when the workers were informed of the closure announcement at a meeting yesterday morning,” he said.

One of the workers, Mick Lewis, a father of four, said that the news of the closure had come as a shock. “This is devastating for all the workers, as there are no other jobs out there at the moment for people in this line of work. This was an excellent company where the management always looked after the staff very well and there was a dedicated team of workers.”

Mike Hennessy, the company’s development manager, described the closure of such a successful company as a major blow. “Kilmallock is a small market town and to lose this number of workers has serious consequences for the South Limerick area,” he said.

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