Talks with Cookstown meat plant bosses described as ‘positive’

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A deputation from Mid Ulster District Council has met with management of the Foyle Food Group to discuss the proposed closure of its Cookstown factory in August with the loss of more than 80 jobs.

The firm has said in a statement following the announcement last week that it hopes to redeploy as many of the workers as possible.

Cookstown Ulster Unionist Councillor Trevor Wilson described the meeting with bosses as positive and courteous.

He said while they were given an assurance that most of the workers would be redeployed elsewhere, the downside was still that Cookstown was losing jobs.

“The closure is a blow to the workers and to Cookstown as a whole,” he said.

“The local economy cannot afford such a loss.”

DUP MLA Keith Buchanan said it was devastating news for the workers.

“I met the management on Monday to discuss this announcement.

“Foyle Food Group Limited is a successful company, therefore, this announcement is disappointing for the Cookstown area,” he said.

“I understand the company carried out a review and are attempting to consolidate operations into their more modern plants where they have made significant investment in recent years.

“If this proposal goes ahead it will affect up to 82 employees in Cookstown although the company has said they will try to redeploy employees, where possible, amongst their other facilities.

“The news will be felt most acutely with the employees and it is important that we work together with the employees, senior management and any other relevant agencies to secure the best possible outcome.”

SDLP MLA Patsy McGlone said it was concerning that the announcement appeared to have been made without consultation with the workforce.

“I will be meeting with the management of Foyle Food Group this week and I have also separately requested an urgent meeting with senior representatives from Invest NI,” he said.

“Whether or not those employees are offered positions elsewhere by the company this represents a loss of 82 jobs the local economy and no future investment in Cookstown by the Foyle Group.

“In the absence of a functioning Executive there must be departmental responses to this proposed closure to ensure that any employees unable to be redeployed by the company are assisted in finding new employment as quickly as possible.”

DUP Councillor Wilbert Buchanan expressed his shock at the job losses.