Town hit by jobs crisis needs a united front

EAST Cork has been dealt another cruel blow in the run-up to Christmas. Almost 100 jobs are to be lost at Courtisan Carpets after the company announced it was bringing carpet manufacturing in Youghal to an end after 52 years.

This is the second employment blow to the town within days. Last week, Youghal fishermen learned with dismay that their livelihoods are to be undermined through the termination of drift net fishing.

The Youghal area is certainly going through a bad patch. Some years ago road infrastructure and other services were put in place to accommodate a Merrill Dow plant in Killeagh. But, like the proposed Cork/Youghal train, it never arrived.

We all regret the closure of Courtisan Carpets and the loss of employment for 100 people, many with young families and mortgage repayments.

We need an alliance of local forces — businesses, trade unions, farmers, the local unemployed and the State — to tackle the economic decline of the east Cork region. It has the potential to be one of the most developed regions of the entire country, but self-interest, sectional interest and lack of interest in the plight of the poor and unemployed of the region has left it in the doldrums.

Let us end the lip-service and identify specific things that can be achieved. New hi-tech industries have performed magnificently.

Electronics and chemicals are star performers, but they depend on competitiveness. There is vast potential if we understand that new technology will create better jobs and products than those it displaces.

We have the ability to create jobs. Somehow we seem to be lacking the bottle. We have the people and the capacity to generate an ever-increasing volume of goods and services at lower unit costs than ever before.

I appeal to Enterprise, Trade and Employment Minister Micheál Martin immediately to address the question of replacement jobs in Youghal, a town which has suffered far more than its fair share of redundancies.

Cllr Noel Collins

‘St Jude’s’

Midleton

Co Cork

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