Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Finance Michael McGrath has expressed his deep concern at the announcement that MBNA is to close its call centre in Carrick on Shannon with the loss of 160 jobs.
Deputy McGrath said: “The first priority must be to assist the staff who will lose their jobs when the facility closes later this year. The possibility has been hanging over them for some time but the news of the closure of the call centre is to go ahead will come as a devastating blow. The staff in Carrick-on-Shannon are skilled and experienced but are likely to face a difficult task in securing new employment locally given the lack of investment in the region. The State must ensure that they have the supports necessary including advice and training opportunities at this time. The financial services industry has gone through enormous upheaval in recent years. We need a blueprint to ensure that if jobs are lost in one part of the sector that people are given the chance to enhance their skills to avail of opportunities that arise elsewhere. Many financial services firms are growing and we need to ensure that skills are matched with the jobs that are available. Schemes such as the Finuas Networks Programme should be expanded to ensure that the talent that is available is nurtured and fully utilised.
Fianna Fáil candidate for the forthcoming bye-election in Roscommon/South-Leitrim Cllr Ivan Connaughton commented: “At its height, MBNA/Bank of America was the largest employer in Co Leitrim with 900 employees. However, a series of job losses since 2010 have seen the numbers fall dramatically. Today’s announcement is a further instalment in what has been a seemingly endless round of job losses for the area. It is very disappointing that it was not possible for the business to be disposed of as a going concern.
“In the past Leitrim has been promised assistance to help it recover from the setbacks it has suffered but very little has been forthcoming to date. There has only been 1 IDA sponsored visit from a potential investor to County Leitrim so far this year, following a similar number last year and none in 2011 and 2012. This has left the county isolated and unable to take advantage of the recovery in interest on the multinational in investing in Ireland.
“As of the end of June there were 2,386 people out of work in the Carrick on Shannon region. The loss of job of jobs at MBNA is going to exacerbate the problem further in an area that has already suffered disproportionately from emigration. We need more than words on this occasion. We need practical action to assist the employees affected and the entire south Leitrim region.”