Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Jobs Dara Calleary has said it’s a dark day on the jobs front, as MSD Pharmaceuticals announces plans to shut down its Swords operation and high street retailer A Wear goes into receivership.

“We are talking about the potential loss of 928 jobs at two of the country’s major employers. It’s devastating news for the 570 staff at MSD in Swords and the 358 staff at A Wear particularly in the lead up to Christmas,” said Deputy Calleary.

“MSD is a major multi-national pharmaceutical company and its Irish operation has been a valuable asset to our economy, providing 2,000 high value jobs at various sites across Ireland and cementing Ireland’s position as a pharmaceutical hub. The fact that it is now closing its Swords operation, just months after it announced the closure of its plant in Wicklow, sets alarm bells ringing.

“We need to know what interaction the Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton had with management at MSD after it announced its closure in Rathdrum Co Wicklow last March and the job cuts in Cork in October 2012? What effort was made over the last 8 months to ensure that MSD’s future in Ireland was safe? A question must be asked as to why MSD have decided to move elsewhere in Europe? Are there cost issues that must be addressed in Ireland?

“This and previous governments have been emphasising the importance of the pharmaceutical sector to the Irish economy. I have been raising concerns about the threats to the pharmaceutical sector for some time as a result of the so called ‘patent cliff’. What action has the government taken to support the Irish pharmaceutical sector after pharmaceutical sales dropped in value?

“Unfortunately today’s bad news emphasises the fact that there is no room for complacency about the ongoing jobs crisis in Ireland. The difficulties that have plagued A Wear, one of Ireland’s best known retailers, are not unique within the Irish retail sector. Unfortunately retailers in communities across Ireland are forced to shut their doors every single week due to unmanageable rents, disproportionately high operating costs, the ongoing lack of credit from banks and a lack of action from the government to address these challenges.

“My thoughts are with the staff at MSD and A Wear at this extremely difficult time. I am urging the Minister to immediately engage with management at MSD to seek assurances about its remaining Irish operations and to ensure that every effort is made to find a buyer for the Swords facility so that jobs can be saved.”