250 jobs to go at Sligo medical firm

Wed, Nov 11, 2009, 00:00

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has today confirmed plans to close the Stiefel facility in Sligo with the loss of approximately 250 jobs.

The company, which agreed to buy the skincare specialist for about €3.6 million in July, said operations at the facility by the end of 2013.

The Sligo facility was established in 1975 and manufactures a range of liquids, lotions, creams, gels, and sachets.

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Mary Coughlan expressed dissapointment at the news and said she would immediately engage with the IDA and other state agencies including Enterprise Ireland, FÁS and the local County Enterprise Board on behalf of the workers.

The IDA has confirmed it is in discussion with GlaxoSmithKline regarding potential opportunities to develop the site.

In a statement issued earlier this morning, the company said the proposal to close the Stiefel plant had been made as part of an overall global review of the Stiefel business following its acquisition.

“GSK regrets the impact this proposal would have on our employees and on the local community. Employees at the Sligo site have made significant contributions to the success of Stiefel. This proposal in no way reflects on the performance or commitment of staff at the Sligo site," said Joe Burns, managing director, Stiefel Laboratories (Ireland).

Opposition parties today accused the Government of failing to protect jobs and local economies as news broke of the job losses.

Fine Gael TD for Sligo/North Leitrim John Parry said the job losses was “devastating news” for the town.

“The closure will have a major impact on the local economy, and on many other companies in the area which supply Stiefel with moulds and other equipment for their manufacturing process,” he said.

Labour's Susan O’Keeffe called the Government “a deer caught in the headlights when it comes to jobs" and added that a high-level Government group on unemployment had not met since January.

Sinn Féin senator Pearse Doherty said “our first thoughts are with the workers and their families...there is never a good time to lose your job but to lose it in the run up to Christmas time is a cruel blow".

In more positive news, the Indian-owned call centre company Firstsource, which currently employs about 1,000 people in Northern Ireland, said today it intends to create 150 jobs in Derry.

In addition, 25 new pharma jobs are also to be created by Bioniche Pharma in Co Galway.