JACQUI McNabb, Head of Enterprise at the Local Enterprise Office within Kildare County Council met with workers and management at the Coca Cola plant in Athy on Thursday.
She said she had been aware of talk of rationalisation within the company and while the news was a shock for the workers it wasn’t a huge surprise in the context of the rationalisation of the company and given that the facility in Mayo is larger than in Athy.
“I was onsite yesterday in Athy and I had an opportunity to talk with the manager and HR manager. I want to thank Coca Cola for the service they have given to county Kildare and the employment they have given over the years. I also want to offer my condolences to the staff. This is a very difficult time for them and We have discussed supports such as a jobs fair and training for workers which can be offered to them. We will also be engaging with the workers to find out what skills they have and we will be talking to other companies both in Kildare and neighbouring counties about opportunities may be there for people in those companies.”
Ms Mc Nabb said she and Kildare Co Council Chief Executive Peter Carey have committed themselves to leaving no stone unturned to ensure that another company is found to take over the site currently occupied by Athy International Concentrates and to create jobs in the town. She added that they would be engaging with the IDA and other agencies in the coming weeks and months to ensure this happened.
Kildare Chamber Past President Vivian Cummins, who is the Athy area representative for the chamber, said that the news came as a shock to many employees who thought that the company would be announcing that the Athy facility was to expand.
“My understanding is that up to two weeks ago they were recruiting so a lot of people thought they were going to announce an expansion for Athy. I want to express my condolences to the 82 staff who have lost their jobs and their families. We have begun a process with the IDA, The Local Enterprise Office and Kildare Co Council to assist staff finding jobs with other employers. The big issue will be finding a suitable company to take over the facility and our preference would be that it is made available as soon as possible. The big issue the IDA has had is having premises available to companies who want to come in and create employment.”