Fianna Fáil TD for Kildare South Fiona O’Loughlin says the news that Coca – Cola is set to close its concentrate manufacturing plant in Athy with the loss of 82 jobs is a major setback for the local community.

Deputy O’Loughlin has called on the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection Regina Doherty to ensure that every support is made available to the workers affected by the plant closure.

Deputy O’Loughlin said, “This news is deeply worrying and comes as a shock to the workers and their families. Coca – Cola has been operating its plant in Athy for 45 years and this has led to massive spin off investment down through the years. It’s disappointing that this tradition is set to end from December 2019.

“Minister Doherty and her Government colleagues need to ensure that every support is made available to the workers affected by this awful news. They need the opportunity to retrain and apply for other roles in their local community. I’m also calling on Coca – Cola management to do all they can to accommodate workers during this difficult time.

“Athy is already suffering from a high rate of unemployment and in many ways the town has been left behind in recent years. The Government needs to redouble its efforts to attract new investment into the community following this news. The plant site should not be allowed to sit idle in the years ahead. The IDA should be instructed to find a new employer to make use of the site as a matter of urgency,” concluded Deputy O’Loughlin.