Fianna Fáil TD for Offaly Barry Cowen has expressed his disappointment following the news that The Flat Bread Company, originally based in Clara, has decided to relocate outside of the town with the loss of over 30 jobs.
The company has been based in Clara since 2009 but was forced to relocate following a fire last January. Management have confirmed that the company will no longer be based in Clara and will instead be located in Tullamore.
Deputy Cowen commented, “I am disappointed to learn that The Flat Bread Company has decided to relocate outside of Clara. Management at the company have said that the move was necessary due to reasons outside of their control, such as the pressure of contracts and the arrival of new equipment in advance of the time frame that allowed for the restoration of the fire damaged premises in Clara.
“This news is undoubtedly a disappointment to the immediate economy of Clara, but I do welcome the fact that the company has respectfully agreed that job offers would be prioritised for those let go following the fire last January.
“New enterprise needs to be established in Clara to replace the loss of jobs as a result of this latest news. The existing owners of the premises damaged by fire in January have commenced reconstruction at the site. It is a fine standalone premises that offers ample space for companies considering investing in the Midlands Region.
“In particular the Government needs to ensure that small towns like Clara, which have been hit hard by retail closures, are given the support they need to recover. These are towns that have lost their core retail activity in recent years, and the last thing they need now is further closures and job losses. The Government needs to take action to protect existing jobs and secure new investment.
“I published detailed proposals on behalf of Fianna Fáil last January calling for greater attention to be paid to struggling areas. Our ‘Streets Ahead’ policy document outlines the steps that need to be taken to revitalize towns and villages across Ireland. Unfortunately the Government is yet to take on board our proposals.
“The Government needs to put in place a dedicated unit in the IDA tasked with attracting new investment into Offaly. County Offaly is now well connected to the rest of Ireland through the presence of an extensive motorway network. In particular we are in close proximity to the growing pharmaceutical industry in Galway and Athlone which presents an opportunity for the county.
“I will be in contact with both Enterprise Ireland and the IDA to pressure them to secure an alternative for Clara. The Government needs to recognise that a balanced economic recovery is necessary to ensure that areas such as Clara are not left behind” said Deputy Cowen.