Independent TD Mattie McGrath has described the response by Minister of State for Small Businesses John Perry to his concerns for the future of the Bulmers plant in Clonmel as woefully inadequate. Deputy McGrath was speaking after receiving feedback from a number of Bulmers employees who characterised Minister Perry’s contribution as a signal failure to grasp the reality of the situation for them:
“It was clear to anyone who listened to the debate that Minister of State Perry was more interested in conveying how wonderful the Government was in terms of job creation and protection and far less interested in the fact that these workers are being treated contemptuously by C&C.
This was clear from the fact that after a perfunctory acknowledgement of the anxieties felt by the families which lasted all of one line of his departmentally scripted reply, he spent the rest of his contribution essentially extolling the virtues of the C&C Group, Enterprise Ireland and the new Local Enterprise Offices (LEO’s).
The workers in Bulmers need reassurance. They do not need grandstanding of the Governments ‘achievements’. That was the whole point of my raising the debate in the first place. Instead what they got was endless Government prattle about the Action Plan for Jobs which could have been the answer to any given industrial issue given how irrelevant it was to the matter in hand.
It was more than a little ironic that Minister Perry as the Minister for Small Businesses stood in for Minister Bruton because by the time C&C are finished with Clonmel that is all Bulmers will be here; a small business.
I have placed several Parliamentary Questions in direct response to some of the claims made by Minister Perry who might as well have spent his time waving me on and saying ‘nothing to see here.’
Nothing would give me greater satisfaction than to be proved incorrect on this matter given what is at stake for the workers and their families. That being said, from what I am hearing and from the information that is being presented to me, all the indications are that the gradual erosion of the Bulmers workforce in Clonmel will continue to the benefit of Scotland and Belfast.
As it is the erosion of workforce morale is as low as it has been in living memory given the callous and indifferent manner in which they workers have been treated thus far,” concluded Deputy McGrath.