Michael Lowry demands action on the future of the Lisheen Mine.
“Time to lift the prevailing veil of secrecy.”
“Following repeated requests for openness on the future plans for Lisheen Mine, the official response has been one of continuous drawn out silence,” stated Michael Lowry TD.
“In 2012, I sent a written letter to Taoiseach Enda Kenny requesting state intervention and to this end a ‘Task Force’ was set up to assist in identifying alternative sources of employment. To date this Task Force has remained silent in relation to details of any future developments which may be pending. In November 2014, I again raised this issue in the Dáil, stressing the extreme gravity of this situation and the need for immediate and pressing action.
“The closure of the Lisheen Mine, first established in1997, has been one of the most important sources of employment here in Co. Tipperary in recent years. However despite my repeated appeals for immediate action, this same industry will soon contribute to the long term detrimental effect of the local economy,” continued the Deputy.
“The negative effects, which will be felt by both Tipperary and indeed the greater national economy can be forecasted as follows”, stated Lowry :-
- Unemployment for a workforce of 380 people; amounting to some €28 million in wages and salaries lost annually, much of which is spent in the local economy.
- The immediate loss, by supportive local service industries, particularly in the areas of transport, fuel, tyres, general hardware, etc.; with an estimated loss expected to be in the order of some €14 million.
- Lisheen Mine has also been a major source of support and funding to local clubs, amenities and charities.
- A large well-appointed and resourced site, for the foreseeable future, will be left to lie, for the most part, redundant.
“This massive imminent loss to Co. Tipperary continues to be placed on the long finger. Despite Lisheen Mine Management having regularly informed their workforce regarding the dwindling reserves and future limited employment prospects at the mine; the mine site has huge potential for future investment.
With major access via Rail and Motorway nearby, this 1200 acre site is ideally suited to big industry. An existing powerful 38 kV electricity supply is one of the biggest in the country and with on site extensive modern offices and outbuildings, this site is ready for immediate occupation.” stated Lowry.
“This site boasts a massive underground aquifer capable of supplying millions of gallons of water daily, but most importantly, Lisheen has an adaptable, highly committed workforce with an impeccable industrial relations record. Surely the whole package would not be too difficult to sell to a major investor!” continued the Deputy.
“Lisheen Mine has huge future potential for investment, yet Tipperary and its surrounding rural areas are now destined to slide backwards into a period of prolonged and totally unnecessary economic uncertainty. With the rural economy continuing to decline, I now call upon the Task Force to report direct to Tipperary County Council membership and all elected membership for the county, so that established facts can be assembled and debated.
I have formally requested the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mr Richard Bruton, to acknowledge the full consequences of this imminent closure and to ensure that State Agencies come forward to play a real meaningful role in directing alternative industry to the site.
The local community have heard of promised replacement projects and jobs creation. They have heard of ‘sensitive discussions’, however the reality is that truly nothing tangible has materialised.
This issue must appear from behind its current veil of secrecy,” concluded Michael Lowry.