Kenny ‘felt’ for plight of workers

Taoiseach Enda Kenny met with protesting Vita Cortex workers to tell them he was taking “a personal interest” in their plight, and would be contacting the enterprise minister today for a briefing on Jack Ronan’s finances.

The workers’ sit in, over the refusal of company owner, Jack Ronan to pay promised redundancy, is now in its 51st day.

Staff again went to Tipperary yesterday to protest outside Mr Ronan’s home.

Four workers — Jim Power, Aimee Cotter, Cal O’Leary and Sean Kelleher — met with Mr Kenny at a Cork hotel last night and described the meeting as “very positive”.

Questioned earlier on whether Mr Ronan was being allowed to hide behind Nama, Mr Kenny said he would “not have a situation where anyone can hide behind anything in this country” adding: “It is not a case of pandering to a businessman.”

The Taoiseach said he “felt” for the workers and that their dispute “has not been followed through like I would have like to have seen”. He said he would meet with Mr Bruton and his officials next week to discuss how the dispute could be solved.

Siptu official, Ann Eager said “Mr Kenny was well briefed and quite aware of the conditions the workers were living in” at the foam factory. He agreed this was about “a very small sum of money” and “should be resolved as soon as possible”.

Due to Mr Ronan’s continued claims of “inability to pay” a promised 2.9 weeks’ redundancy, the Department of Social Protection decided yesterday to expedite the payment of the statutory redundancy entitlements.

It has confirmed the employees will receive their entitlements of two weeks wages per year of service from Monday.

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