As the Minister of State is aware, Analog Devices is one of Limerick's biggest employers and the main European base for the Analog Devices company, which has its headquarters in Massachusetts in the United States. Recently the American Government blacklisted a Chinese company preventing it effectively from purchasing American made parts and components. Analog Devices makes semiconductors for smartphones produced by that company and is a huge customer. The decision by the American Government to prevent the Chinese company continuing as a customer of Analog Devices has created great uncertainty and confusion in the region. We are informed that the company has arranged a three or up to five day shutdown to take place in the next week or two. Staff have been told take holidays during that time and staff who have used up their holidays are told they will have to unpaid leave. This is to prevent Analog Devices building up an inventory because of the uncertainty surrounding it. Analog Devices is one of the best employers in the mid-west region, employing 1,200 people in well paid jobs. That accounts for 1,200 families.
If anything happened there, there would be a ripple effect throughout the economy of the mid-west because many smaller companies, contractors and so on depend on the business they do with Analog Devices. It would have a devastating impact on the economy of the region. We have done pretty well in recent years but this would be a massive setback. I raise this matter to bring to the attention of the Government what is happening. Is the Minister of State aware of the situation? Have discussions taken place between his Department and Analog Devices in Limerick, which has refused to issue a statement? Have discussions taken place with the American authorities or with the enterprise agencies here?
The real reason I am raising this matter is because of the anxiety and distress that these developments have caused in the mid-west region. Does the Minister of State have anything to say that will reassure workers and their fear and uncertainty about their jobs into the future?