RTE Prime Time in Tubbercurry later today

Anger at scale of South Sligo job losses.

Sligo News File Online

An RTE Prime Time team is visiting Tubbercurry today, Tuesday.

The venue for what is to be a debate on rural issues is Teach Laighne.

No details have been released to date. However, it appears that although rural matters, including job losses and the possible transfer of the Aurivo butter packing operation from Achonry to Cork are on the agenda,  the event for some inexplicable reason is being restricted to only “invited” speakers and a small audience of about 30.

Proceedings are scheduled to get underway in the library of the council offices at 9 pm.

Mitchelstown signAnger is growing over the spate of job losses in the South Sligo town and its environs, the most recent of which include those announced in connection with the planned closure of the Aurivo Co-operative butter packing operations where it is believed possibly upwards of 20 workers may be made redundant. The Co-operative has announced that it is moving the butter packing facility from the long established Achonry base to a new plant in Cork.

New Sligo town headquarters of Aurivo
New Sligo town headquarters of Aurivo

The company recently transferred its headquarters from Tubbercurry to a Sligo town business park. It also closed the co-operative’s milk processing plant on the outskirts of Sligo town
and switched the operations from there to Donegal.

It looks from a letter seen by Sligo News File that Aurivo has declined an invitation to meet with local public representatives at offices of the county council. The letter, dated 19 January 2016, and signed by “Aaron Forde, Chief Executive,” states:

Aaron Forde, CEO, Aurivo, and Chairman of Ornua
Aaron Forde, CEO, Aurivo, and Chairman of Ornua

“As a commercial business operating in an exceptionally competitive environment, we will not be taking up your invitation to attend a Sligo County Council meeting.

“However, as previously offered in our letter to you of December 22, we are more than happy to meet a delegation of councillors at our office on a mutually suitable date for a private update on our operations.”

Best New Product 1990
Best New Product 1990

In an earlier letter, Forde stated that “on the day the regrettable, but necessary announcement regarding our Achonry site was made on 6 November, Aurivo’s senior management made contact, by phone and follow up email, with local TDs, Senators and South Sligo councillors once impacted employees and the local advisory committee had been communicated with.

“No councillor engaged directly with Aurivo following this communication,” he said

As well as serving as CEO of Aurivo, Forde is chairman of the State Dairy Board, Ornua, to whose plant in Mitchelstown, the Aurivo Achonry butter facility is being moved.

Achonry Butter processing facility 1897
Achonry Butter processing facility 1897

According to accounts, south Sligo community interests are mobilising to block the transfer of the Aurivo butter packing facility to Cork. They are also said to have designed and are now erecting posters in support of what a source says will be an intensive campaign.

Additional to the loss of the butter packing operations and the relocation, with 30 jobs, of the headquarters of Aurivo from the founding base of the co-operative in Tubbercurry to a Sligo business

John Perry, TD, Fine Gael - former Minister for Small Business
John Perry, TD, Fine Gael – former Minister for Small Business

park, two state offices in the town have been closed by the current government. Staff have been moved from the offices to Ballina, part of the Taoiseach’s Mayo constituency, and other locations.

In all, the area has lost more than 200 jobs in the last few years. In Sligo town itself, more than 100 workers are to lose their jobs with the closure of the Elanco manufacturing plant at Finisklin.

The US parent company said, “cost-reduction initiatives at Sligo, including a restructuring last year, have not been sufficient in establishing a competitive business model for the facility”.

Tony McLoughlin, T.D., Fine Gael, Sligo - Leitrim
Tony McLoughlin, T.D.,
Fine Gael, Sligo – Leitrim

The area is represented by Sligo-based government party TDs, John Perry, a former minister for small business development, and Tony McLoughlin. Local senators include Imelda Henry (Fine Gael) Susan O’Keefe (Labour) and Marc McSharry (Fianna Fail)

 

Both the IDA and Enterprise Ireland have offices in Sligo. Sligo County Council also operates a fully staffed enterprise office set up in 2012 to promote the development of local business

Ciaran Hayes, CEO, Sligo County Council.
Ciaran Hayes, CEO,
Sligo County Council.

activity. The CEO of the County Council is Ciaran Hayes. He is supported by a team of service directors and officials.