Gas equipment manufacturer Harris Calorific is to close its plant in Rathnew, Co Wicklow, before the end of 2006 and it plans to re-locate to Eastern Europe. In Galway, Maysteel Teoranta is to close, having lost out to Chinese competition.
No minister was available to claim credit for the bad news.
Harris employs 71 people in Rathnew. Company president David Nangle said that the company had been in Ireland for 26 years, but rising labour costs, particularly over the past five years, had made it difficult to compete with rivals operating in Eastern Europe and China.
Harris said it had opened discussions with its unions on productivity earlier this year, but 'having considered this and other alternatives, the company believes that its only option at present is to close and relocate in 2006'.
Harris said it would be consulting staff and unions on its proposals, and would also seek to reach agreement on redundancy packages at the earliest possible date.
Meanwhile, 85 jobs are to go in Indreabhán, Co Galway, with the closure of Maysteel Teoranta. The company lost out on a major contract with IBM last week, and has been unable to find another market for its computer components. It is believed that the contract has gone to China.
Workers are to be briefed in a meeting with management this afternoon. It is expected that the company will cease trading early in the new year.