Major jobs blow for Ballinasloe

Dan Dooner

 

Ballinasloe suffered a major jobs blow on Saturday following the announcement that US manufacturer Aptar is to close its facility in December, with the loss of 115 jobs.

The company, which produces pumps and dispenser systems for beauty and personal care products, said its industrial equipment and machinery would be transferred to other facilities around the world from September.

Independent TD Denis Naughten has called on Tánaiste Leo Varadkar to convene and personally chair an emergency meeting of the Western Region Enterprise Committee following the announcement.

“It is deeply disappointing that the engagement between Government and the company, as well other options to save the Aptar operation, have failed to protect local jobs…it is now imperative that we look immediately at alternative sources of employment for the 115 workers.

“We now need an immediate emergency meeting of the Western Region Enterprise Committee directly chaired by the Tánaiste to drive investment into Ballinasloe.

“I believe what is now needed is a focused strategy for the town of Ballinasloe involving all the State bodies working with the management of Aptar, but also exploring the full potential of the St. Brigid’s Hospital campus,” he said.

Local Fine Gael Senator Aisling Dolan has described the announcement as devastating.

“This is devastating news for the local community and my heart goes out to all the workers.

“I have been in touch with the Department about supports for the employees and families affected. I am working with the Tánaiste to bring additional investment to the area,” she said.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Aptar had also been involved in the production of hand sanitisers. The plant, which normally operated on a 24/7 basis, had scaled back its output significantly over the past few months.

Sinn Féin TD for Roscommon-Galway Claire Kerrane said news of the closure was “hugely disappointing” and urged Tanáiste and Minister for Trade, Enterprise and Employment, Leo Varadkar, to provide information on the Government’s plans for job creation in the town.