Kelly disappointed and upset at Dawn decision

Mayor of Roscommon John Kelly this week criticised the manner in which the announcement of the closure of the Dawn Meats plant in Ballaghaderreen was made, pointing out that members of management had denied that there was to be any closure one week before the closure was announced. ‘The fact that they brought in a PR company at 4 pm on a Friday afternoon, I wouldn’t be thanking them for that.   ‘They made it look like 80 jobs were going. By my calculations 140 or 150 jobs are going, using their own figures. At peak times there are up to 240 people employed there. They’re now gone from Ballaghaderreen and they can spin it any way they like. With the employment spin-off attached to it, if people move out of the town there will be a lot of empty houses. Every single one of those employees were contributing something to the economy. ‘It’s a huge, huge loss. Whether it can be dealt with, I doubt very much if there is any will at IDA or Government level. They are considering setting up a task force, but we have one in Rooskey and one in Boyle and what happened as a result?’ ‘When the dust settles on this, the politicians will go back to sleep. They are all up in arms at the moment. Are Fianna Fáil politicians going to tell various ministers that we should decentralise to Ballaghaderreen? They won’t bother. ‘It only warranted eleven seconds on Friday’s news on RTÉ. That shows how well the story was spun. RTÉ were not down here to report on the closure in Ballaghaderreen. If it was 100 jobs anywhere else, they would have been down.  Speaking of the future of the site, he said, ‘I think it’s going to be a white elephant. I don’t think they’ll even sell it on because it would draw competition.’ After the announcement, Cllr. Kelly and Cllr. Michael Mulligan went to the plant, but claim they were refused entry. ‘They don’t even want to discuss the issue,’ said Cllr. Kelly. ‘If everyone laid off goes on social welfare, it will cost millions. I have said from day one, despite the assurances that 120 will be moved to Ballyhaunis, I think we will be lucky if 40 to 50 did go. ‘This was a viable company, making big profits every year. It would make sense if they were having difficulties, but when they’re making money and contributing to the local economy, why destroy a town with a move like that?’ ‘I am very disappointed and upset. To me, it’s probably irreparable damage that they have done to the town. I cannot see any Government Minister coming in because we’re not Galway, Athlone or Sligo and they are the only towns they have any interest in.’