Seán Garland, managing director of Aughinish Alumina, wrote to US Senate minority leader Charles Schumer this week warning that the threat of sanctions against its owner endangered 460 jobs at the Irish company.
Aughinish’s parent, EN+, has agreed a deal with the US treasury to end Russian oligarch Oleg Deirpaska’s control of the group, allowing it to avoid sanctions that would have cut the Irish company off from key markets.
The US senate defeated a bid led by Democrat Mr Schumer to overturn the deal lifting the sanctions earlier this week, easing the threat against the Co Limerick factory.
Mr Garland wrote to the senator on January 16th saying Aughinish was the biggest company in the region and critical to the local economy.
“Many residents, including 460 direct employees, 200 indirect contractors, and hundreds of additional staff depend on the plant for employment, and their jobs would be at a huge risk in the event the sanctions on the two companies remain in place,” he said.
Mr Garland explained that its proposed removal from the sanctions list would help ease the challenges faced by Aughinish's daily operations, help maintain its relationship with customers across Europe and safeguard hundreds of skilled jobs that were critical to the economy.
EN+ chairman Lord Barker of Battle negotiated a deal with Washington cutting Mr Deripaska's effective control of the group to 35 per cent and pledging to pay his dividends into an account controlled by the US treasury. Estimates of the personal cost to the Russian run to $3 billion.