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Jobs Department denies it withheld Waterford job losses until after the election

Independent TD John Halligan said the Department had been aware of the issue for some time.

Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Updated 4.26pm

AN INDEPENDENT TD for Waterford has said it’s “deplorable” that the government was aware of impending job losses in Waterford, but did not inform workers sooner.

However, the Department of Jobs has strenuously denied that the announcement was held under after the local and European elections, stating that they were first informed of the company’s final decision yesterday.

Deputy John Halligan said he met with the Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton prior the announcement this morning of 200 redundancies at Bausch and Lomb, the largest employer in the county.

“We had to push them,” Halligan told TheJournal.ie, “but they said that they had been aware of job restructuring.”

He added that it was likely it was held until after the local and European elections, which took place last Friday.

Halligan also accused the IDA of “not doing their job”.

“Their job is to create employment and to protect sustainable employment,” he said, but that Waterford has seen significant job losses without as much job creation as other counties.

It’s the worst affected area in the entire country, something acknowledged by government.

A spokesperson confirmed that the Department, along with the IDA, had been engaging with Bausch and Lomb for “several months on these issues” in order to secure as many jobs as possible.

“The company ultimately decided that the restructuring plan announced today was necessary in order to address declining market share.”

The company’s final decision was communicated to DJEI and IDA yesterday (Wednesday 28th). There is no question of the announcement being delayed.

Minister Richard Bruton also said this afternoon that the DJEI and the IDA have “proposals ready for substantial financial support for a major investment in the plant by the company, in order to secure its future and position for expansion, in the even that restructuring is successful”.

He added that consultation had been on-going for “several months”.

Speaking to reporters this afternoon, he said that “he knew from the start” that there would be some job losses in the restructuring.

Originally published 3.53pm

Read: Waterford’s biggest employer is seeking as many as 200 redundancies >

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Nicky Ryan

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