Dáil debates

Wednesday, 10 December 2008


Company Closures.

10:00 pm

Photo of Bernard AllenBernard Allen (Cork North Central, Fine Gael)

Heineken's decision to close its former competitor in Cork, the Beamish and Crawford brewery, makes the Competition Authority look incompetent for approving Heineken's takeover of the company. However, there is a ray of light for the brewery, which is closing with the loss of between 100 and 200 jobs. Various media outlets have reported that SABMiller, a former partner of Beamish and Crawford, may be interested in buying the brewery from Heineken and continuing production of its brands from the site. The Government must state whether it has done any groundwork on this possible takeover. Has the Government contacted the interested parties with a view to saving as many jobs as possible? The Government must also state what it has done to ensure proper competition in the beer market.

I am particularly concerned at the behaviour of the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Deputy Coughlan, on the day the closure was announced. She failed to show any real concern about the Beamish closure when she was in Cork last Thursday. Instead, she was more concerned with swanning around other parts of the city and county where new jobs would be announced. Her goal was to take credit for the new jobs, none of which has yet been created, while avoiding any association with the brewery job losses.

The Government does not seem to value indigenous industry. Ministers do not seem interested in doing the hard work to help preserve local companies. Time and again, they seem more interested in attending photocalls for projects which have still not happened.

It may not be too late to act if the Government is innovative and committed. I am looking forward to hearing the Minister of State, Deputy Kelleher's, response tonight. So too are hundreds of families who are dependent on the actions of the Government. Cork will be a poorer and a sadder place this Christmas season with the closure of one of its traditional and historical industries. The loss to Cork city of a little piece of its heart with the closure of a centuries old brewing tradition on the landmark Beamish site is traumatic.


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