IF ANYTHING were to happen to Aughinish Alumina, the west Limerick economy would be “devastated”, said a local councillor.
Small local businesses that survive in Aughinish’s orbit would take an enormous hit if they were to lose their contracts with the alumina giant.
The Limerick Leader is aware of at least one small company subcontracted to Aughinish which has put a number of staff members on notice, as panic about the effects of the sanctions kicks in.
Another small-time local supplier to the ships that use the Aughinish port, said that their business would be wiped out if trade was to stop at the plant.
“If the banks and the government aren’t made fully aware of the situation and they don’t act quickly, then you have a real risk of loss,” warned an industry analyst, “not only of the main plant but also all the secondary jobs and knock-on in the local economy. It’s immense.”
FG Cllr Adam Teskey said that his “concerns are with the management and staff” at Aughinish.
“All aspects of the Government should be trying to prevent any job losses, but the stark reality is that what has happened here is totally outside of our control, and it’s unfortunate that this is the situation that we find ourselves in. Locally, any job losses would have a drastic negative impact on the area. If anything were to happen to Aughinish, it would be devastating to the West Limerick economy,” said Cllr Teskey.
“Furthermore, we’ve got to recognise that they are a massive ratepayer here to Limerick City and County Council, they pay in the region of €2.6m per year. If anything were to happen that would put that in jeopardy, it would have serious consequences for the services that we provide locally for the people that we represent.”
County Limerick’s Niall Collins TD, who is the Fianna Fáil spokesperson for Foreign Affairs and Trade, also called on the Government to act fast in order to save jobs.
“It’s of vital importance to the company and to the workforce that the unintended consequences of US sanctions against named Russian persons doesn’t impact the Aughinish plant,” said Mr Collins.
“The Government needs to use every means possible to ensure this. The local community and the wider community are very supportive of Rusal and Aughinish at this time.”