Fianna Fáil TD for Kildare North Frank O’Rourke has said the loss of 500 jobs at HP in Leixlip comes as a major blow to the local community.

Deputy O’Rourke further added that the Government needs to put in place a multi-agency taskforce in order to assist workers in finding alternative employment as quickly as possible.

“Today’s news is a devastating blow for workers, their families and the wider community in Leixlip. HP is an iconic employer in Kildare and has been operating in the county since 1995. The company employs thousands of workers and it has played a major role in supporting the local economy down through the years. These job losses are worrying and demonstrate the fragility of our economic recovery,” said Deputy O’Rourke.

“The Government needs to put in place a multi-agency taskforce to assist workers in finding alternative employment. The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor needs to step up to the mark and ensure the IDA, Enterprise Ireland and other key agencies work together to secure alternative employment for the workers affected by this announcement.

“Minister Mitchell O’Connor also needs to explore the possibility of securing funding from the European Union to help limit the impact of these job losses. The Government can make an application for emergency funding to help retrain workers who lose their job due to the negative effects of globalisation. A similar approach was taken in Limerick in 2009 when Dell announced substantial job losses.

“Many of the workers affected by these job losses are highly skilled and need to be assisted in finding employment in expanding companies. If workers feel that they need to upskill then they should be given the opportunity to do so. Some of the workers have been employed at HP for many years and may be entitled to generous redundancy packages. Enterprise Ireland should assist these workers if any of them decide to setup their own businesses.

“These job losses are a major blow to Kildare, but the damage can be limited if the Government is pro-active,” concluded Deputy O’Rourke.