National Pen cuts 100 jobs as it shifts roles to Czech Republic

Company blames move to online ordering and supply chain issues for latest job cuts

National Pen, the Dundalk-based supplier of sponsored products, is cutting 100 jobs as it relocates part of its business to the Czech Republic.

The Dundalk plant has been the European headquarters of the US group since 1987. It makes personalised marketing merchandise, such as pens, key chains, note pads, magnets, calendars, mugs and tote bags.

Chief executive Peter Kelly said the company was moving its "fulfilment operations" to its facility in the Czech Republic.

“The closer proximity to market will enable faster delivery to our core customer base across mainland Europe,” he said, adding that reducing turnaround times for its business customers had been a key aspect of the group’s recent transformation efforts.


Blaming supply chain issues alongside the increase in ecommerce, he said the group would cease fulfilment operations at its Dundalk plant from next year.

He said about 200 non-fulfilment roles in Dundalk will not be affected, saying the plant was “a crucial site of operational importance” and the group’s international headquarters.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said the redundancies would not happen until January 2023 and that the company's 240 headquarter and contact centre staff would not be affected.


Mr Kelly said National Pen plans to invest in its online operations in Ireland "with the creation of 50 new technology and ecommerce positions in Ireland over the next five years".

In 2017, the company was reported as having 1,000 staff in the Louth town as it announced plans to add 250 new jobs over the five years to this year.

"The news of further job losses at National Pen coming less than two years after a major round of lay-offs at the operation is devastating for the workers and families in Dundalk and across the region who depend on the firm for their incomes, said Labour party spokesman on finance, public expenditure and reform, Ged Nash, who is a local TD.

“ This is really difficult news to receive at the start of the year and I know it’s devastating for those affected and for the entire community, especially following the company’s previous decision to let staff go in May 2020,” Mr Varadkar said.

He said the the Government, “through IDA Ireland did everything it could but the company has taken the decision to move certain operations to the Czech Republic”.