Black day for Shannon as more than 200 jobs to go


MORE THAN 200 jobs will be lost in the Shannon region after two large employers – Shannon Aerospace and publishing firm Elsevier – confirmed lay-offs yesterday.

Shannon Aerospace has confirmed plans to lay off 107 workers, almost a fifth of its workforce, after returning losses of almost €900,000 since August.

The aircraft maintenance group made the announcement yesterday following weeks of speculation, stating that the lay-offs will form part of a wider restructuring programme for the company.

Established in Shannon in 1989, the company is a subsidiary of Lufthansa Technik AG. It employs 628 full-time staff and 97 trainees.

Thomas Rückert, Shannon Aerospace managing director, confirmed that the company had been loss-making since August, with a deficit of almost €900,000, and said: “This is devastating for all of us. I’m still shocked and stunned and it was very difficult for me to deliver the news this morning and see the shock on their faces.”

Mr Rückert, who was appointed to his position in August, confirmed that 64 of the posts to be made redundant are in administration and support; 20 in management; 20 in production and three in senior management.

He said that the company is hoping to be back in profit by March and April next year through the restructuring.

Married father-of-one Neil Thorne (33) from Meelick, Co Clare, who has been with the company for 15 years, said: “I have a young child at home and a mortgage and I don’t know yet whether I will be affected by this. Most of the lads I work with are in the same boat and this is very devastating for us especially coming up to Christmas.”

The Shannon Aerospace announcement was followed by news that Elsevier Ireland was effectively winding down its Irish operations with the loss of 100 of its 108 staff at Shannon over the next three years.

Elsevier is a publisher of bio-medical, scientific and clinical journals including The Lancet. The wind-down comes in spite of the business recording a 3 per cent increase in pretax profits to €24 million last year.

Outside Elsevier’s offices yesterday, managing director, Brendan Curtin acknowledged that the company was profitable but said part of the group’s “site consolidation” was aimed at making the group more profitable.

He said the decision to cut the workforce “was not taken lightly”.

Happier jobs news came in Dublin yesterday when technology firm Hewlett-Packard flagged the creation of up to 120 jobs.

The positions are high-end multilingual roles aimed at graduates, and will be located at its enterprise division in Clonskeagh, Dublin. HP said it was recruiting to fill 50 positions immediately. However, the remaining 70 jobs will depend on whether candidates can be found with the necessary language skills. Candidates with German, Italian and French are being sought for the roles.

Separately, US-based Alliance Healthcare Information said it would establish a multi-lingual EU call centre in Dublin.

Alliance Healthcare Information, which is part of United Drug, provides specialist support and marketing services to the healthcare and pharmaceutical industries.

It is not yet known how many jobs will be created as part of the project.