Mayor of Mid and East Antrim ‘disappointed’ over Michelin job losses

Mayor Billy Ashe delighted that borough is in Britain in Bloom finals. (Submitted Picture).
Mayor Billy Ashe delighted that borough is in Britain in Bloom finals. (Submitted Picture).

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Cllr Billy Ashe has expressed disappointment that Ballymena’s Michelin plant will close by mid-2018, leading to the loss of 850 jobs.

He stated: “Mid and East Antrim Borough Council’s thoughts are with all 850 people who will lose their jobs with internationally-owned Michelin plc over the next three years.

“This is devastating news for Ballymena and has shaken the whole community. We are, however, a strong community and I have no doubt that local people and businesses will work through this together.

“We are all aware that the manufacturing sector is one which is facing continued competition globally. Recognising this situation, Council’s focus is very much on driving increased economic activity within the Borough.

“In addition to continuing to support the many strong businesses in our area we will be targeting growth sectors such as tourism and ICT to stimulate new jobs in our locality.”

Cllr Ashe revealed that elected representatives are planning to meet with Michellin’s management to manage the impact of job losses.

“Over the next few days I, along with other Council representatives, will be meeting the management team at Michelin to understand in more detail how we can all work together over the next few years to reduce the impact of the job losses,” he continued.

“Council will also be in direct communication with the Northern Ireland Executive to highlight the continuing loss of manufacturing jobs, not only in the Ballymena area but across Northern Ireland.

“We will seek to understand how the Executive intend to stem the tide of these job losses in the manufacturing sector.

“I have no doubt that the 40 elected members in this Council will work hard to make our position clear, both to the Executive and Invest NI.

“We will pursue urgent action and support from our MLAs’ emphasising the need to develop new opportunities in the Borough to replace the jobs we are going to lose over the next three years,” he concluded.