Lisbon vote ‘sent negative signal’ to multinationals

IRELAND’S rejection of the Lisbon treaty has created uncertainty among multinational companies here, according to the head of one of the country’s largest employers.

The comments yesterday by Microsoft Ireland chief executive Paul Rellis came on the same day a multinational firm reportedly asked its workforce to take one day’s unpaid leave.

Mr Rellis, who is also president of the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland, said that the no vote sent “a strongly negative signal” to European counterparts and also to multinational companies.

He was speaking before the Oireachtas sub-committee on Ireland’s Future in the European Union.

Committee members questioned the Microsoft boss on the implications for Irish business.

“Continued foreign direct investment could be impacted if Ireland’s non-ratification of the Lisbon treaty results in us standing alone in Europe. It has to be accepted that our influence has been weakened as a result of a no vote. We need to consider how this can be rectified as the outcome will be detrimental to our continued growth and prosperity.”

Mr Rellis underlined the significance of foreign investment to the economy, with more than 128,000 people employed in more than 1,000 companies.

Meanwhile, the slump in the motor industry worldwide has led to a drop in production at Kostal in Abbeyfeale, Co Limerick.

Kostal employs more than 700 people making electronic components.

In a statement yesterday, the company said the markets it supplies have been “impacted severely by the current global economic downturn”.

“The company is keeping staff informed of developments as matters unfold and we are not prepared to make any further comment at this stage.”

A SIPTU source said workers have been told the plant will close for an extra day over the coming holiday weekend and workers will not be paid for the extra closed day.

German-owned Kostal set up in Abbeyfeale in 1980. Last year about 70 workers were made redundant. The company undertook not to have any further staff reductions up to December 31 next.

A spokesman for Kostal’s base in Mallow said that no such request had been made of the workforce in the north Cork plant.

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