Seagate major job loss recalled
It is five years since American technology company Seagate announced the loss of almost 900 jobs in Limavady, Co Londonderry.
Wednesday, 19 September 2012
Last Thursday, in the coastal town of Larne, engineering firm FG Wilson confirmed the loss of 760 jobs.
The redundancies will be also affect its facilities in Belfast, Springvale and Monkstown.
Production of its 400 series generator sets is being moved to Tianjin, China, to build the product closer to its growing customer base.
The FG Wilson announcement echoes that of Seagate - hundreds of jobs being lost and production moved out of Northern Ireland.
The Seagate plant in Limavady was at the very cutting edge of industry- producing computer hard drives in the state-of-the art factory for over a decade.
When the factory shut its doors, a huge blow was dealt to the town - not just to the workers and their families, but to the local businesses too.
It's estimated the closure of the plant removed at least a £20million spend from Limavady's economy.
Ever since the firm moved production to Malaysia , the factory has lain empty.
Unemployment levels in the town are amongst the highest in Northern Ireland.
Ex-Seagate worker Martin McCann said it didn't help that the jobs were taken out of the region.
He said that it wasn't "a good feeling" for many people who were left with families to rear and mortgages to pay.
Martin joined the Steps to Work programme, a scheme to help people re-train in a bid to find work.
He eventually found employment in nearby Derry.
"It will be difficult at the start, but they will find jobs," he said.
Diane Rathfield, who works with the Limavady programme, advises that people facing unemployment should contact their local Jobs and Benefits Office immediately.
She told UTV that it's important people find out about the Steps to Work programme and volunteer onto the scheme, before demotivation sets in.
Limavady is now working at strengthening indigenous business in the area in order to maintain stability in both employment levels and the local economy.
The closure of Shackleton barracks in nearby Ballykelly in 2008 only added to Limavady's woes.
But it's hoped the relocation of 800 jobs to the barracks, when it becomes the headquarters of the Department of agriculture, will provide a long needed boost to the area.
Paul Beattie, of Limavady Borough Council, says the town is still recovering from the Seagate fallout five years on.
"If somebody had said to me on the day that the announcement was made, 'How long will it be before we bounce back?' I mean I couldn't have given an answer.
"Now I'll be saying five years on, it's going to be at least another five years on top of the existing recession that we have."