Irish Republican News · January 25, 2010
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: Waterford plant closes for last time
Waterford plant closes for last time
waterfordcrystal.jpg

Hundreds of people came to pay their final respects to the Waterford Crystal visitors’ centre at Kilbarry in Waterford yesterday as it closed its doors for the final time.

Some came in the hope of gathering a piece for their collection, while others simply came to share memories that made up the centre-piece of their lives for so long.

The centre had been due to close next month with the loss of about 15 remaining jobs there. Wile the jobs will still be lost on February 5th, the centre closed ahead of schedule at 5pm yesterday.

About 330,000 tourists came to the visitor centre annually for 25 years - from Britain, the US, Australia and Asia. Almost 3,000 people once worked for Waterford Crystal at their factories in Kilbarry and Dungarvan.

Last year, a tense stand-off followed when the plant was occupied by workers and supporters following news it was to be shuttered.

Waterford Crystal worker of some 10 years Eleanor Horan said of its final closure: “We are absolutely devastated but people have been fantastic; the support we got from all our locals has been absolutely incredible.”

Engraver Nicky Coady, with 44 years’ service, added: “While I’m here I’d like to just thank all the people who came in and shook our hands this week.

“If the politicians had come out a bit earlier maybe we wouldn’t be closing here today.” Mayor of Waterford John Halligan said it was “a sad day for Waterford”.

The company that now owns the Waterford Crystal rights has said it will open a new retail outlet and visitor centre in the city, and that glass pieces would continue to be manufactured. However, the new facility will be a tiny fraction of the original plant.

The outlet is scheduled to open in June and will be based in the former ESB regional office at the Mall in Waterford.

NATIONAL WORKER UNREST

Meanwhile, thousands of public servants in the 26 Counties are today taking action which will involve work to rule and refusals to carry out duties associated with vacant posts in protest at pay cuts.

Health service and local government workers are involved, with more unions are expected to join the protest in the coming weeks.

Further industrial action, including strikes in selective areas, are understood to be under consideration by public sector unions in a second phase of the campaign which could take effect in the weeks ahead.

Mid-ranking civil servants are scheduled to join the initial industrial action by the middle of next week.

Ireland’s largest union, Siptu, said on Friday it would be serving notice of industrial action across the civil service, local authorities, and health and education sectors tomorrow. This proposed action would come into effect a week later, February 1st.

Lower-paid civil servants who are members of the CPSU have already been involved in industrial action for the last several days.

© 2010 Irish Republican News