26 September 2008

221 Jobs Losses as Kilkenny Mine closes

Only one day after nearly 500 job losses were announced in Cork (see yesterday's entry below), there is further bad news on the Irish job front from Co. Kilkenny. They might have Ireland's best hurlers there, but as the area is predominantly rural and not well developed, jobs are hard to find, especially for people with a lower standard of education.

So today's announcement that the Galmoy Mines (photo) in the north of Co. Kilkenny are closing in a phased process from December onwards is another blow for the battered Irish economy and especially for the local people.
The mines are owned by a Canadian company, which took over from Arcon some years ago. 221 jobs will be lost, and there is no other business in the area that could absorb these workers.

Talks between SIPTU (Ireland's largest trade union) and the management of Galmoy went on through the night, after which it emerged that the company will end its operations completely within two years.

Dennis Hynes, SIPTU's branch organiser in Kilkenny, said the decision to close the mine was based on fuel and shipping costs.

However, the Chief Executive of Galmoy, Stefan Masson, stated that the closure is largely due to the fact that the mine will be exhausted by 2011.
He said the news would not come as a shock to staff, as redundancies were part of an expected wind-down process.

A main concern - Mr. Hynes said - was that if zinc dropped in price, and oil prices went up, Galmoy Mines might even close sooner than 2011.
The impact of the closure would extend beyond the 221 workers losing their jobs, right into the whole local community.
"There are a lot of businesses, small businesses, people that have contracts in and out of Galmoy, who are going to be affected by this as well," he added. "It's going to have a huge impact on the area and it's a big, big loss."

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