The decision by Molex to close its facility in Shannon was deeply disappointing. I fully understand how important an employer this company has been to the area and the role it has played in supporting jobs and enterprise in the Mid-West.
My immediate concern has of course been for the workers and families who stand to be impacted. My Department and I are already working, as best we can, to address the consequences for the employees and the Shannon region.
Soon after learning of the intended closure, I spoke directly with the CEO of the company and made it clear that the Irish Government very much regretted the firm’s decision. Unfortunately, as he explained, the decision was irreversible.
I also travelled to Shannon, together with Minister of State Breen, to convene a meeting of key stakeholders. This included representatives from the State’s principal enterprise agencies, Government Departments, Clare County Council, Third Level institutions and the local business community. Our collective focus was to determine how best to respond and to assist those employees who would be impacted by the closure.
Following that meeting, an action plan was agreed with Molex to support the skills development needs of its workers and to help them find alternative employment. Many of those impacted have valuable skills and experience and the IDA, together with other stakeholders, will be drawing the attention of potential employers to their availability. The IDA will also be working separately to market the facility to prospective investors and to find new investment for the area.
Looking further ahead, we will need – as was collectively agreed at the stakeholder meeting – to ensure we create new opportunities across the wider Mid-West region that can help offset many of these job losses. The Mid-West Regional Enterprise Plan – which I launched earlier this year – will be a critical tool in that respect.
While the Molex closure undeniably represents a significant blow for Shannon and the wider area, it remains the case that the Mid-West is performing well in economic terms. The region has seen significant investment in the last three years and key employers include many large-scale manufacturing employers such as Beckton Dickinson, Edwards Lifesciences, Analog Devices, Johnson and Johnson, Regeneron, Stryker and Zimmer. We are therefore optimistic that further new opportunities can be created for the area in the time ahead.
Applications to the European Globalisation Fund (EGF) are managed by the Department of Education and Skills (D/ES). Particular eligibility criteria apply for applications to the EGF, including the number of redundancies, the time period involved, the circumstances in which the redundancies arise and their impact on the local, regional and national economy. Any application for EGF support must also demonstrate a link between the redundancies and major structural changes in world trade patterns due to globalisation. In relation to Molex, I understand that D/ES is currently assessing the situation and whether an application under the EGF would be possible.