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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

“Hammer blow” for Midwest after job cuts

There has been worrying reaction all around the Midwest at the news today that the long established Element Six Ltd, which manufactures and distributes industrial diamonds and super-hard materials will shed 150 jobs.

The company based in Shannon, Co Clare, made the announcement to its staff this morning saying it needed to reduce its workforce by the end of the year.

General Manager Ken Sullivan explained in a statement today,
“Our major customers include those in construction, automotive, general engineering and the drilling for oil and gas. All of these are caught up in the down turn in global business. In some sectors, sales are running as low as 50 per cent of what we would have expected a few weeks ago.”

Political Reaction
Local TDs and councillors have been weighing in on the news discussing the effect it will have not only on Shannon but on the entire Mid West region as a whole.

Labours Jan O Sullivan said a short time ago,
"I am extremely concerned by the gradual reduction in job numbers throughout the Mid West and I am calling on the Minister for Enterprise Trade & Employment to immediately focus on this area with the IDA with a view to attracting new investment into this area. Limerick and the greater Mid West Region has witnessed no significant jobs investment since this Government came into office nearly 12 years ago despite both Shannon and Limerick being designated 'Gateways Regions' in the Governments national Spatial Strategy”
Mayor Of Clare Madeleine Taylor Quinn was equally gloomy on hearing the news,

"While I recognise that the company has confirmed the redundancies are part of a group-wide cost-saving programme in the organisation, it must be pointed out that the company's General Manager last year indicated its operations were under 'active review'. The fact that the company turned pre-tax profits of just over USD2m last year, well ahead of 2005's USD9m loss, shows that rising operating costs coupled with the global economic downturn is having a real impact on major multinationals.

The loss of the service has also seriously undermined the effectiveness of major infrastructure projects such as the Southern Ring Road in Limerick City, the Ennis Bypass, Shannon Tunnel and N-7 Nenagh to Limerick high-quality dual carriageway."
Element Six has been manufacturing at the Mid West base since 1963 and currently employs 620 people.

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