Dell is to move its manufacturing operation to Poland early next year with the loss of 1,900 jobs at its Limerick plant.
In a statement this morning, the company said it will migrate all production of computer systems for customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) from Limerick to its Polish facility by early 2010. Following today's announcement, the first wave of redundancies will happen in April with the rest going by January next year.
In December, Tánaiste Mary Coughlan and Minister for Defence Willie O’Dea flew to Austin, Texas to meet Dell chief executive Michael Dell in an effort to save the Limerick jobs. At the meeting Mr Dell was accompanied by a number of his senior managers while Ms Coughlan and Mr O’Dea were accompanied by the Secretary General of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Sean Gorman, and by the Chief Executive of IDA Ireland, Barry O’Leary.
However, Dell went ahead with the decision today after a year-long global review by the computer giant aimed at cutting costs.
Sean Corkery, vice president of operations at the Limerick plant said the decision to move to Poland had been a difficult decision "but the right one for Dell to become even more competitive, and deliver greater value to customers in the region.”
“We will treat affected employees with dignity and respect and offer them every practical support through this extended transition period to minimise the impact on them,” he said.
The Taoiseach Brian Cowen said the decision was a "major blow" to Limerick and the Midwest region.
"I am particularly conscious of what this means to the workers whose jobs will go between April and January next and to their families," he said.
"It is important that we now mobilise all our resources to meet this major challenge for the region."
Ms Coughlan today expressed her disappointment today at the decision by Dell. “My immediate thoughts and concerns are for the workers and their families and those directly impacted,” she said. “In my discussions and meetings with Dell, it was always made clear to me by the company that any decisions that it would take, were in no way a reflection on the quality its workforce or the operating environment in Ireland.”
The remaining 1,100 employees in Limerick will continue to coordinate EMEA manufacturing, logistics and supply chain activities across a range of functions including product development, engineering, procurement and logistics.
The company’s Global Innovation Solutions Centre and EMEA Command Centre will remain in Limerick and the company will retain its sales and marketing base in Cherrywood, Dublin.
Established in Ireland in 1990, Dell employed more than 4,500 staff in Ireland at its height and is the country’s biggest exporter and second largest company.
It accounts for approximately five per cent of Irish GDP and last year contributed €140 million to the economy of the south west in wages alone.