The Bishop of Cork and Ross has said Ireland should not allow itself to become over reliant on global companies for fear of being lulled into a false sense of security in terms of job safety.
Bishop Fintan Gavin’s remarks at mass over the weekend comes after Novartis announced plans last week to 320 jobs at the company’s Ringaskiddy plant in the coming years.
He described the job losses at Novartis as a “devastating blow” to the employees, their families and to the wider community.
Staff at Novartis were called to a meeting at the firm’s plant last Wednesday morning at 8am and told there will be job losses in business support, administration, production, planning and testing.
Speaking at Saint Mary's and Saint John’s Church in Carrigaline, Bishop Gavin said:
“My heart sank when like so many others I turned on the radio on Wednesday morning as details of the 320 job losses at Novartis, Ringaskiddy, emerged,” said Bishop Gavin.
“It is a devastating blow to the employees, their families and to the wider community.
“The fact that the announcement came suddenly and without warning to staff and their families creates a huge insecurity and uncertainty for the many people employed in Novartis and others employed in the wider pharmaceutical industry, their families and local communities such as here in Carrigaline,” he added.
“Every effort needs to be made by the government and the IDA to minimise the job losses, to support those who will lose their jobs, and to seek alternative employers to invest in the site.
“Carrigaline is just one of the communities that is now heavily dependent on the pharmaceutical sector and this announcement by Novartis highlights the danger of our dependence on global companies.” “As a nation of people, we have developed an enormous reliance on the pharmaceutical sector,” said Bishop Gavin.
“These industries have provided and continue to provide a valued livelihood to thousands of our people.
“However, at the same time, we can easily forget that these industries and their parent companies are global businesses: researching, producing and competing in a global market.
“As a nation, we need to ensure that our reliance on foreign direct investment does not lure us into a false sense of security.
“We need to invest more in our local indigenous industries and innovations.
“News like we received out-of-the-blue from Novartis reminds us that, as local communities, we need to strengthen our ties with neighbours and friends, always aware of who is beside us and of their needs.
“As parishes, we have a strong tradition of supporting people and families in times of worry and need. We will continue to do this.”