[Sinn Fein]

5th January 2000

Hawkes Bay factory closure - company must meet obligations to workers

Sinn Fein Councillor Arthur Morgan has urged the Government to ensure that plant machinery and stock at ArdeeŐs Hawkes Bay denim clothing factory are not removed until the company meets its obligations to the 300 employees. Louth County Councillor Arthur Morgan said:

``The people of Ardee are devastated this evening at the abrupt closure of Hawkes Bay which has been the main employer in the town for many years.

``There is an urgent need for the Government to ensure that equipment does not disappear from the factory and that the company meets its full obligations to the 300 workers whose families and community depend on this industry. Hawkes Bay cannot just fold its arms, close the doors and walk away.

``Many workers believe that this closure is part of a move to relocate the Ardee plantŐs business to Pakistan to exploit cheap labour costs there.

``There is an urgent need for Employment Minister Mary Harney and the Government to step in and safeguard the jobs of those employed by this company.

``The short sighted approach of Government agencies in leaving a small town like Ardee dependent on one employer for so many years was negligent. This is a mistake which must not be repeated in the future.''

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