I propose to take Questions Nos. 672 and 679 together.
Officials in my Department have been in close contact with the Company over the past number of weeks (during the consultation period between the company and its employees), to ensure that were the plant to close that my Department would be ready to act swiftly in terms of providing support and advice for the employees.
The consultation period has now concluded and unfortunately the outcome has resulted in a closure of the plant. My Department put a support plan for the Company named into operation with immediate effect, and held two information sessions in the town on Monday 16/12/19 to which all the affected employees were invited.
Information about the income and other supports available to the employees was made available at both sessions. Officials from my Department provided advice and information on the income support payments to which the employees may be entitled from my Department and they explained the supports that are in place to assist them in finding alternative employment.
Kildare Wicklow Education & Training Board was also available to provide information on training and education options for employees interested in reskilling. Wicklow Local Enterprise Office and Enterprise Ireland provided advice to people who may want to consider self-employment as an option. In addition, the local Jobs Club assisted employees who needed help with CV preparation and interview skills and the Money Advice and Budgeting Service was also in attendance to offer advice on money management and debt, if required.
In addition to the support and information sessions, the local Intreo Centre put a process in place to ensure claims applications will be received and processed in a timely manner. Staff from my Department and the other agencies mentioned above will be available to give ongoing support and advice to the workers affected during this difficult time.
I trust this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.