240 jobs

Roche Ireland boss had no advance notice of decision to close Clare plant

The pharma giant is pulling out of Clarecastle, leaving 240 jobs in the balance.

roche The Roche Ireland plant in Clarecastle Google Maps Google Maps

Updated at 9.30am

THE MANAGING DIRECTOR of Roche Ireland has said he was given no advance notice of the pharma giant’s decision to close its facility in Clarecastle in Co Clare.

The company announced yesterday that it plans to exit the site, where it has been in operation since 1974.

Gerry Cahill, Roche’s Ireland boss, has said management are “committed” to working with jobs minister Richard Bruton and the IDA to seek a buyer for the site.

No notice

Speaking on Morning Ireland today, he revealed he had not been given notice of the planned closure, which leaves 240 jobs in the balance.

“Nobody from this site was involved in the decision making process,” Cahill said, noting several times that the decision was made on a corporate level.

Roche announced its plan yesterday to exit sites in South Carolina, Spain, and Italy in addition to the Clarecastle plant. The company said it would be restructuring its manufacturing process for small molecules*.

“A new generation of specialised medicines based on small molecules requires novel manufacturing technologies and will be produced in lower volumes than traditional medicines,” a statement said.

The company, which employs 88,500 people worldwide, is investing in a dedicated facility in Switzerland “to support future technology requirements”.

roche Roche Roche


In his interview this morning, Cahill said news of the planned closure had been a shock for workers and for the wider community, adding that Roche would reach out to other pharma companies and contract manufacturers to seek a buyer for the plant. 

The closure process would take three to four years, he said. If no buyer can be found, the first redundancies will happen next year.

Cahill said management at Clarecastle met with local Siptu reps yesterday, and plan to meet with area representatives in the coming days.

“The decision is final,” he said, reiterating that it was a corporate decision with no local involvement.

“The intent of us here is to find a buyer.”


Fine Gael TD for Clarecastle Joe Carey said yesterday that “every effort” will be made to support the Roche workers.

“My thoughts are very much with the workers of Roche and their families at this difficult and uncertain time,” he said.

I know many of the workforce personally as well as their extended families.

Clare Fianna Fáil TD Timmy Dooley meanwhile described the news as “a devastating bolt out of the blue”.

“The loss of these jobs would have an enormous impact on the employees themselves as well as the local community and the economy in the Midwest,” he said.

The immediate shock for the workers will quickly turn to concern for their future livelihoods and the Government needs to do everything it can to respond quickly and comprehensively to this announcement.

*What are ‘small molecules’? More here. Additional reporting Daragh Brophy. 

Read: ‘We won’t be exchanging butter for margarine’: Avoca sold to a US catering giant

Read: Mairia Cahill ‘deeply regrets and is deeply sorry’ for dissident involvement

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