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Talk Talk closure a 'dark day for Waterford'

The IDA’s chief executive says he is “appalled” that Talk Talk is planning on closing the plant in just four weeks.

Update: 8.35am

MINISTER FOR JOBS Richard Bruton is to meet with staff and management at the Talk Talk facility in Waterford in the coming week, where 575 are being lost as the operation closes and its business is outsourced.

The company announced the closure yesterday afternoon, saying that growing use of its online services has resulted in reduced demand for the phone support section.

Barry O’Leary, chief executive of the IDA, criticised the timeframe the company is implementing before it leaves Waterford. Speaking on Morning Ireland today, O’Leary said he was “appalled” at the four-week limit, adding that it “shows little respect to the prospect of achieving a successful outcome” to finding an alternative employer to take over the Talk Talk operation.

He said the IDA was talking to a number of companies around the world about taking on the facility and staff.

Asked what the IDA was doing about drawing foreign direct investment into Waterford, O’Leary said investors were not necessarily considering a case of Galway versus Waterford, but “Ireland versus Singapore”. It was up to investors to decide where to base themselves within the country, he said.

‘Ignored’

“This is a dark day for Waterford,” Labour TD Ciara Conway said. “For too long the south east has been ignored, and jobs have been allowed haemorrhage from the region. That’s not good enough, and it’s time for a change.”

Conway said she would meet with the cabinet to discuss prioritising job creation in this region.

Waterford City Councilor Gary Wyse said last night that there had been concern in the area over the future of the business, but that the announcement was a “major blow to the city and surrounding areas”. The councillor also said that over 15,000 people signed on to the live register in the city last month.

Fianna Fáil’s spokesman on Jobs Willie O’Dea described yesterday’s announcement as “shocking and extremely disappointing”.

Talk Talk said it would enter a 30-day consultation period with staff during which it would provide support for them to consider their options. It is understood that dozens of positions will be made available to the Waterford staff at Talk Talk’s operations in Britain.

Bruton said he had asked the IDA to make “every possible effort” to source alternative employment for Talk Talk workers and to find another use for the facility if the company proceeds with the closure.

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