Today will be rememberd as one of the darkest days in the Gweedore area as it emerged that 142 jobs are to go as a result of the closure of Largo Foods in Gweedore.
The Chief Executive of Largo Foods, Maurice Hickey said the high cost of producing its products in Donegal led to the proposal to transfer all its manufacturing from Gweedore to its factory in Meath
As part of the proposals, 70 full time positions in Ashbourne have been offered to full time staff in Gweedore and Mr. Hickey said that he hoped that the positions would be taken up.
MEP Pat ‘the Cope’ Gallagher told the Donegal Democrat, “I am absolutely devastated and deeply disappointed at this news - is totally unexpected - what we were expecting was expansion not closure.
“I am calling on Minister of the Gaeltacht Dinny McGinley to call an emergency meeting between Udaras na Gaeltachta and the management of Largo in an attempt to save these jobs.
“It is much better to save jobs rather than create them.
“The loss of 142 jobs in Gweedore is the equivalent of a major factory closure in Dublin.”
Michael McClafferty an Independent candidate in the Glenties Electoral area and an employee of Largo Foods added, “This is just devastating - the management of Largo Foods have been totally dishonest with their workforce.
“We have been asking questions for the last number of weeks but not getting the answers. We knew that there was something unusual as the store rooms were full with product.
“The worst we expected was our hours to be cut back - we did not expect anything like this.
“We were told there would be a serious meeting at the end of the month and then this came out of the blue today. It is shocking and no way to treat loyal workers. I am calling on all the elected representatives to get together now and do everything in their power to stop this - it is catastrophic.”
Pearse Doherty said, “Firstly, I am absolutely devastated for the workers at the plant and their families. Today their worlds have been turned upside down with this news. I know many of the workers personally as friends and neighbours and I am truly saddened by today’s developments.
“This is a black Friday for Gweedore – the scale of this announcement in a small rural area such as ours is massive. This news is not just devastating for the workers in the plant but for the whole community.
“There will be a knock on effect in the local economy with hauliers, suppliers and service providers all being impacted by this announcement.”
Senator Brian Ó Domhnaill has described it as a ‘black day for the Donegal Gaeltacht’.
“This is the loss of 110 full time jobs and 30 part time jobs in Gaoth Dobhair in a matter of months. It’s a devastating blow for the workers and their families. Many of staff have worked there since the company first opened 18 years ago and many have other family members who also work there. They are now wondering what they will do after the summer,
“I am calling on the Minister for the Gaeltacht Dinny McGinley and Údarás na Gaeltachta to intervene immediately. Largo Foods has received millions of euro in State support through Údarás over the years. As a major employer in the Donegal Gaeltacht, it has been well backed with grant aid through Údarás. It’s simply not good enough that it would now shut down with little notice.”