Disappointment at company closure in Taoiseach’s home town

150 jobs, welcomed by Enda Kenny in 2013, never materialised

Politicians in the Taoiseach's constituency of Mayo have expressed shock and disappointment at the impending closure of a company which was to have provided 150 jobs in Enda Kenny's home town of Castlebar.

Mr Kenny had officiated at the announcement by Northgate Solutions in November 2013, and had described it as an "indication of the confidence in the Irish economy".

He said the additional jobs - promised over a three-year period - were "particularly welcome in the West of Ireland. "

The private company specialising in public service contract work at an international level employed 100 staff in Ireland at the time.


Services included a newborn hearing screening programme for the Health Service Executive (HSE) in public maternity hospitals, and computer file management systems for several other hospitals.

However, the south Mayo jobs did not materialise, and the company, with six people on the payroll, is to close its Castlebar office on December 2nd.

There had been a question mark over its future, after the HSE directed its internal audit unit to review how Northgate won contracts worth 340,000 euro from the Saolta University Health Care group managing public hospitals in Galway Mayo, Sligo, Roscommon and Letterkenny, Co Donegal.

Northgate Public Services was the only company asked to bid. The then Saolta chief executive Bill Maher had previously worked for it as a consultant.

The internal audit report said the procurement of the clinical information management system from Northgate was not carried out in accordance with national financial regulations, and procurement regulations had been contravened.

It said Mr Maher should have declared to senior HSE management a business relationship he had with a UK company which secured contracts worth nearly €340,000.

The Saolta contracts were not renewed. Earlier this year, Northgate said that it was providing back-office scanning services to a number of customers from its Castlebar centre, and was “working towards securing new contracts from public service organisations”.

Independent Mayo councillor Michael Kilcoyne has expressed his "disappointment " and "shock", while Fianna Fáil TD Lisa Chambers said the loss of two major contracts had influenced the decision to close.

She said staff at the company told her the two contracts were due to be secured. Ms Chambers told MidWest Radio that redundancy payments for the existing six staff would be poor, and they would be left in a terrible situation coming up to Christmas.

Mr Kenny, who was visiting Northern Ireland on Thursday, made no comment on the closure.

Lorna Siggins

Lorna Siggins

Lorna Siggins is the former western and marine correspondent of The Irish Times