'A shock to the system': Major Cork employer announces 70 layoffs

MSD Brinny, which has been in operation for over 35 years, announced a reduction of 70 in its workforce
'A shock to the system': Major Cork employer announces 70 layoffs

MSD Brinny is one of the largest employers in Munster, with around 700 staff members.

AROUND 70 jobs are set to be axed at a West Cork pharmaceutical plant.

MSD Brinny, which has been in operation for over 35 years and is located near Innishannon, announced a reduction in its workforce this morning.

The site is one of six MSD Ireland branches in the country and is one of the largest employers in Munster, with around 700 staff members.

“MSD Brinny announced a reduction in its total workforce of approximately 70,” a spokesperson for the company said.

“MSD Brinny is a strategic site within the global MSD network. The site has a long track record in the manufacture of key medicines and is continuously evolving to meet the needs of patients around the world.

“As part of the ongoing evolution at MSD Brinny, the site continuously evaluates resourcing across all its operations to ensure optimum skills, resources and expertise are in place to support the business.

“This announcement is a key part of MSD Brinny’s evolving site strategy to ensure continued viability for the long-term.” 

It is understood that workers were told the site had opened a voluntary redundancy programme and that a consultation process with staff will now begin.

MSD Ireland first established an Irish base over 50 years ago and has a total workforce of 2,800 people.

According to the company’s spokesperson, MSD has invested over €3.6b in its Irish operations so far and the sites manufacture around half of MSD’s top twenty products.

The Brinny plant specialises in the development and manufacturing of novel vaccines and the testing of immuno-oncology medicines.

Speaking to The Echo, local Cork County Councillor Kevin Murphy said the news was disappointing.

“It’s a major shock to the system,” Mr Murphy said.

“I’m very sad and disappointed with the decision. 

"They’re all top-class jobs up there and everyone understands that there might be some problems in workplaces right now but MSD Brinny is a great company and they’re excellent employers.

“With the way the economy is going, I’d be very concerned about those who are going to lose their jobs. My heart goes out to them. 

"I hope they’ll be re-employed as soon as possible.”

Cork County Councillor and Innishannon resident Alan Coleman said that local residents are hoping the news doesn't signal a larger trend.

"It's unthinkable really that someone would be laid off from a place like this and 70 is a high number. It's a major employer in the parish and in South Cork in general. It hasn't always been plain sailing but they're a great employer and they're very good to the community," Cllr Coleman said.

"This sector has been really stable and is one of the few that grew in the pandemic. It's very worrying to see one of them shedding jobs for the first time in a long time.

"It makes you wonder if it's an Irish problem or just a company problem. You'd hope it isn't the start of a trend within a sector that has been really driving the economy for the last number of years."

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