I wish to share time with Deputy Dennehy. I thank the Ceann Comhairle for allowing me to raise this matter which concerns my constituency. This is the second such matter I have raised in the past fortnight which deals with company closures in my constituency.
Yesterday, the Ridge Tool company, which was been in Cork for 25 years, announced its decision to lay off its staff of 66 by May of this year. With the announcement two weeks ago of job losses at CG Services and the closure of Jetmagic, this is the third in a series of company closures and announced job losses in my constituency since the start of the year. In light of further lay-offs at the Schering Plough factory in Dunderrow and Irish Distillers — I accept that the latter is not located in my constituency but many of its workers live there — it has been a bleak time in economic terms. An appropriate Government response is required for those who have found themselves in the unhappy situation of losing jobs in industries they thought were secure. There are also indications that jobs in the manufacturing sector in many other institutions throughout the country may not be secure.
I wish to relate to the Minister of State the experience of a person with whom I went to school who has been working for Ridge Tool since completing his leaving certificate 23 years ago. As a result of the decision to relocate most of the company's activities to the United States and the remainder to China, he finds himself in a situation in which many other Irish workers are likely to find themselves in the near future. I want the Government to address the drift in manufacturing away from this country and on to Asia, in particular, and the effect this is likely to have on many Irish workers.
When the company was down-scaling in recent years and offering voluntary redundancy packages, a person with my friend's experience was offered €20,000 more than what the company is now prepared to offer in closing the factory. Knowing where the threats lie and where the phase-out is likely to happen would help workers prepare for eventualities such as that at Ridge Tool. The inconsistencies between packages on offer before final closure and those on offer when the announcement was made, which were barely above statutory requirements, make this closure announcement upsetting to the workers involved. I want the Tánaiste and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment to make an appropriate intervention to ensure that these inconsistencies are addressed.