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Dublin: 13 °C Sunday 21 December, 2014

280 jobs lost as Wicklow pharma plant closes

The Rathdrum facility will close by the end of 2015.

EMPLOYEES AT MSD’s Wicklow operation have been told the company is to cease operations at the site by the end of 2015.

All 280 jobs at the facility will be lost.

Manufacturing activities will be phased out in 2014 but no staff reductions are expected until the end of next year.

In a statement, MSD said the decision comes as the firm reviews its worldwide manufacturing capabilities “that has resulted in sites being sold, closed or consolidated in all regions of the world”.

“Rathdrum has been a significant manufacturing site since 1961 and has a long history of operational excellence,” according to John Smith, site director. “The proposal to cease operations is not a reflection of the site’s performance or the highly skilled people working there. The proposed action is the result of MSD’s ongoing review of the global manufacturing capacities needed to support its growth, business goals, product portfolio and pipeline.”

Consultation between employee unions and management is expected to begin shortly. MSD said its staff will be treated with “dignity and respect”.
“[We] will provide appropriate support between now and the cessation of manufacturing activities at the site.”

As a result of the proposed closure, the company plans to relocate products manufactured in Rathdrum to MSD sites in Ballydine, count Tipperary and Singapore, as well as to third-party manufacturers.

The Department for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation along with IDA Ireland will now look for a buyer for the facility and MSD said it is committed to “seeking an alternate future for the site”.

The company’s operations in Carlow, Cork, Dublin and Tipperary are not impacted by today’s announcement.

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