Fianna Fáil General Election candidate Cllr. Cathal Crowe has called on the IDA to enter into discussions with senior management at Roche to see if the pharma giant would reconsider its decision to close its facility at Clarecastle following its acquisition of Spark Therapeutics.

Cllr. Crowe explained, “Roche took the decision to close the Clarecastle plant in 2016 as part of a wider restructuring plan and because the plant was underutilised.  Following Roche’s acquisition of Spark Therapeutics in recent days, I believe the IDA should now engage with senior management to see whether there is an opportunity to reverse the decision to close the Clarecastle site, as it could be used to manufacture new products.

“Roche has been at the heart of the social and economic fibre of Clarecastle for almost 40 years and the announcement of its closure was met with widespread shock and devastation.  The loss of 240 jobs is a huge blow for Clare and people are considering having to move out of the county to secure work.

“I believe this acquisition provides an opportunity for the IDA to engage with management at Roche to establish whether the deal with Spark Therapeutics could mitigate the closure.  Roche will have to manufacture new products, and there is already an existing facility and a highly skilled workforce with a proven track record in Clarecastle.

“The jobs situation in Co. Clare is worrying.  Six out of every ten jobs created over the past 12 months were in the Greater Dublin Area. Meanwhile, the most recent CSO Labour Force survey has indicated that there has been zero net jobs growth in the mid-west in the past 12 months.  The government and the IDA need to step up to the mark to ensure more balanced economic growth.

“This Roche acquisition cannot be ignored.  The Business Minister and the IDA must engage with management at the company and put the case to them for continued operations at Clarecastle”, concluded Cllr. Crowe.