Toughglass Closure In Kilkeel Sparks Political Reaction

McDevitt: ‘A Sad Day For Kilkeel’ SDLP South Down Assembly candidate Newry and Mourne Councillor Karen McKevitt has said the Kilkeel community is devastated at the loss of 46 jobs due to the closure of local firm Toughglass. [caption id="attachment_22872" align="alignleft" width="400" caption="The Toughglass factory in Kilkeel is winding down with the loss of almost many jobs."][/caption] She said, “This is a sad day for Toughglass employees, particularly those who depended on their jobs at this company as their main source of income to feed and raise their families. “It has left many people with an awful sense of despair and hopelessness. “It is now vital that government invests in the growth areas within our local economy, especially tourism and the green sector in order to create employment for the increasing number of people out of work in South Down. “The SDLP prosperity plan can raise £4 billion, creating thousands of jobs. It is the better way to a better Ireland for all.” Ruane Comments On Kilkeel Job Losses At Toughglass Factory South Down Sinn Féin Assembly Member Caitríona Ruane has expressed concern at the loss of 46 jobs at the Toughglass factory in Kilkeel. Ms Ruane continued, “The imminent loss of 46 jobs in the Toughglass factory is a major blow for Kilkeel, a town that is already struggling because of the decline of the fishing industry. “My thoughts are with the employees who have lost their jobs – they and their families have been dealt a devastating blow. Their difficulties are further compounded by the harsh economic climate, and the cuts that are impacting on our frontline services. “The new Assembly must look at ways of addressing the job cuts in places like Kilkeel that have been badly hit by the recession and a strategy must be put in place that can help attract investment to the town and utilise its skilled work force. This must be a priority for all of the political parties sitting in the Executive.” Wells Involved in Efforts To Save  Toughlass From Closure South Down UP MLA  Jim Wells indicatd that market forces were much against the furure of Toughglass. He said, “I was heavily involved in the many meetings with Invest NI, DETI and the management of Toughglass. “Unfortunately it was impossible to save the factory which had been hit with a combination of cheap imports, a huge hike in energy prices and a massive cut in orders from the construction trade. “I understand that 10 men had been offered alternative posts in Glasgow and some staff will be kept on to wind down the factory. ‘This is a huge blow to the economy of Mourne and it will be extremely difficult for the Toughglass staff to find alternative employment.’ McCallister Says Invest NI Talks May Offer Some Hope South Down UUP Assembly candidate John McCallister MLA has welcomed a recent meeting between Invest NI and representatives of Toughglass, Kilkeel. Mr McCallister said the future for Toughglass remained bleak, but Invest NI were prepared to work with any viable options. “I was pleased to attend the meeting to see if anything can be done to provide support for Toughglass. “A business plan was submitted to Invest NI based upon development of sales in the aerospace and transport industry. We are trying every means to help this beleaguered company in the tough times that lie ahead.” Enright  Slams MLA ‘Hypocrisy And Crocodile Tears’ over Toughglass Job Losses In a hard hitting statement, Green Party South Down Assembly candidate Down District Councillor Cadogan Enright has condemned  elected representatives “crying over jobs losses at Toughglass in Kilkeel while doing nothing to deal with the energy costs issue since they were elected in 2007. “What did they think would happen when they spent the years since they got elected opposing or not facilitating any attempt to switch to cheaper local renewable energy?” asked Councillor Enright. “The DUP in particular has consistently opposed or abolished policies that would allow local producers to provide cheap renewable energy since the last elections in 2007. “On my web-site I have logged their behavior since 2007 at”, said Cadogan Enright. Mournes local council candidate for the Green Party, Heather McDermott, also said, “All press reports on Toughglass have highlighted how the escalation in energy costs has played a key role in the loss of jobs. Jim Wells, Henry Reilly and other local representatives are simply shedding crocodile tears over these losses, while doing nothing to reduce the price of energy since they were elected, and leaving NI still overly dependent on imported oil and gas”. Heather McDermott also slammed Jim Wells and Henry Reilly over the National Park and their failure to deliver the 2000 jobs to the Kilkeel area from this project. Green Party Councillor Enright said,  “It is unbelievable that they can sit on their hands while energy costs escalate and jobs are lost, and then either oppose the jobs bonanza for Kilkeel from a National Park as Councillor Reilly has done, or fail to speak out as Councillor Wells has done when his minister kicked the National Park into touch with yet another consultation”. “The six Chambers of Commerce in South Down representing 610 businesses have all called for a National Park. They want the tourism boost now. They are calling for action on this issue and the last thing they want is still more talk from DUP Minster Poots. In a similar way the Chambers of Commerce, Institute of Directors and other key players in the Northern Ireland economy have called for a ‘Green New Deal’ on energy, but have been frustrated by DUP Finance Minister Wilson”.]]>