Dickson says Michelin closure is a massive blow to Northern Ireland economy

Alliance MLA Stewart Dickson has said the announced future closure of the Michelin tyre factory is a massive blow for the Northern Ireland economy.

The factory, in Ballymena, will close in 2018 with the loss of 860 jobs. Michelin said the decision had been taken due to the significant downturn in demand for truck tyres.

Mr Dickson said the news was a big setback to both workers and the wider economy.

“This is an incredibly concerning move and I am worried about the impact it will have, not only in the local area, but throughout Northern Ireland. Many people from my own constituency of East Antrim work at the plant and will be affected personally.

“But it is also a body blow to Northern Ireland as a whole. The knock-on effects and message it sends out will be devastating. It is a further example of the impact of the global economic situation can have locally.

“We have to look at how Michelin can lessen the impact of the impending job losses on workers there, with the help of the Executive. My colleague, Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry, has already started the process to support staff and seek a way forward.”

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