About 600 staff at Quinn Industrial Holdings (QIH) on the Fermanagh/Cavan border have been furloughed or laid off temporarily as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.
The company directors are to take a 50 per cent pay cut. Employees at Quinn Packaging – which supplies packaging to the food sector and is therefore deemed an essential business – and a small number of employees who are able to work from home are unaffected.
QIH, which manufactures building products and consumer packaging, employs about 830 people in Ballyconnell, Co Cavan, and Derrylin, Co Fermanagh.
In a statement, a company spokesman said that following the announcements by the Irish and British governments last week of new restrictions designed to slow the spread of coronavirus, QIH had “closed and/or substantially scaled back all operations that require physical attendance at work and which were not included in the published list of essential business”.
As a result, the spokesman said, about 600 staff would be “furloughed or placed on temporary layoff and paid in accordance with the relevant Government support scheme applicable to their roles”.
“QIH recognises this is a very challenging disruption for staff and their families but it is necessary and unavoidable if we are to protect one another from this global pandemic and safeguard the lives of the most vulnerable in our community,” the spokesman said.
Last year one of QIH's directors, Kevin Lunney, was abducted and left with life-changing injuries as part of an ongoing campaign of violence and threats against the company's executives. The business was founded many years ago by Northern Ireland businessman Seán Quinn, who went bankrupt following the financial crash of a decade ago.