Government cut all support to Ballaghaderreen cigar plant

Company employed thirty-eight.

Sligo News File.

The Government pulled support from a Ballaghaderreen production plant because of its trade in tobacco products.
Exclusive Cigar Manufacturers, which launched in 1978, and employed 38 at its facility on the Charlestown Road, reportedly announced last month that it is to transfer operations to Sri Lanka.

Pat Breen, Junior Minister for Jobs

But now it has been revealed that owing to a treaty on tobacco control the Government had removed all aid to the company.

In the Dail, Junior Minister for Jobs Pat Breen told local TDs that in January 2013 “the Department of Health communicated to all Departments and their agencies the guidelines for the implementation of Article 5.3 of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.”

He said Principle 4 of the Convention guidelines stated that “because their products are lethal, the tobacco industry should not be granted incentives to establish or run their businesses.”

For this reason,  his Department and its agencies “are no longer in a position to support companies in this sector,” he said.

The Ballaghaderreen firm started life as Hofnar in December 1978.

Workers stated that they were unaware of the impending closure of the plant.

Dep. Eugene Murphy (Fianna Fail) said ECMI “…is one of the largest private employers in West Roscommon. That might surprise some people, but it is the case.

“The jobs involve a specific skill set and many who are being made redundant will likely have to leave their county to find similar work, and we all know that Dublin is busting at the seams. IDA Ireland has visited County Roscommon only once in 2017 and nearly half the year is gone. From the information I have received, its representatives also only visited once in 2016.

Eugene Murphy, TD, Fianna Fail

“Ballaghaderreen has been dealt several severe blows in recent years. Going back 12 or 14 years, we had the loss of the United Meat Packers, UMP, meat plant, but we have also lost a hotel and several businesses. The reality is that the community in Ballaghaderreen reacted. It built many units which are there for jobs to go into, but the Government has not delivered. There is a huge amount of talk about balanced regional development in the programme for Government, but it is not happening.”

Dep. Michael Fitzmaurice (Ind) said the West of Ireland needed a balance of development which it was not getting.

Michael Fitzmaurice, TD, Independent

“Ballaghaderreen was once noted as a sort of gateway town, especially with Knock Airport located nearby. We need a focus on Ballaghaderreen as well as other towns in County Roscommon and, indeed, the west of Ireland…

“If one looks at all the plans, one will see that there is a focus on building railways out to the likes of the airport and such projects. There should be a focus on putting good infrastructure in place and on ensuring that it is attractive, especially for business people, to move to towns like Ballaghaderreen.

“I am not saying that people can be picked up by the neck and told to set up business there. The town lost the meat factory, and it has lost other businesses. There is scope there.”

Dep. Dara Calleary “The ultimate irony is that Ballaghaderreen is the headquarters of the Western Development Commission whose outgoing chairman, former Fine Gael councillor Paddy McGuinness, declined to be reappointed because he called the Minister of State out, called the Government out and, more importantly, called permanent Government out for their complete lack of interest in and lip service to the challenges facing regional Ireland.

Dara Calleary, TD, Fianna Fail.

“We want the Minister of State to come to West Roscommon and East Mayo and, in terms of Roscommon, focus on west Roscommon. The growth he speaks about is going into the area around Monksland. It needs to be spread across the county. Similarly, the action plan for jobs in the West is a plan for Galway city and the rest of us are being left behind.”