Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald has urged government to act to protect jobs at Tara Mines.
Speaking in the Dáil today, Teachta McDonald said:
“The news of 650 job losses at Tara Mines overnight has left workers, their families and the wider community reeling.
“The suspension of operations at the mine is nothing short of devastating, and a body blow that will affect the entire community.
“I want to express my support and solidarity to these workers and their families at this time.
“The impact on the wider community and local economy in Navan will be considerable.
“Everything that can be done, must be done, to save these jobs and protect workers at Tara Mines. Government must engage with management and the parent company to do everything possible to maintain these jobs.
“While no-one anticipated this sudden and drastic announcement that came overnight, there was an awareness that the mine was under pressure and concerns about the future of the mine.
“In fact, my colleague Deputy Johnny Guirke wrote to Minister Eamon Ryan, the minister responsible for the mining industry, on 11th May. In it he expressed concern about operations at the mine, including risks to jobs.
“Deputy Guirke warned the Minister, ‘If this risk becomes a reality, that would be a major blow to this region, and certainly merits Government intervention as soon as possible.’
“He then went on to request that government meet with Meath Oireachtas representatives, along with representatives of SIPTU and Boliden Tara Mines.
“By way of response Deputy Guirke received an acknowledgement from the Minister’s office promising to bring this matter to the Minister’s attention, and then nothing further. His warning and call for action were met with silence.
“Was Minister Ryan aware of the very serious pressure the mine was under? Did Minister Ryan not share that information with the rest of government?
“Why is government only looking at action now?”