Athlone could face further job losses with the news that Wolseley Ireland, which has its headquarters in Athlone, is to cut 180 jobs nationwide and close down four of its branches.
It has not yet been revealed whether the head office in Athlone or the local branches of Heat Merchants, Tubs & Tiles, or Electric Merchants, all part of the company, are to be affected.
However, the company confirmed that seven of the 180 jobs are to go at Heat Merchants and Tubs & Tiles in Tullamore, which have been named as two of the four branches to shut their doors.
No further information will be made available by the company until staff have been informed.
Wolseley cited the “ongoing changes in the Irish residential new-build market” as the reason for the layoffs, which represent almost one fifth of its current Irish workforce of approximately 950 employees.
“This is part of the company’s continued focus to drive efficiencies and reduce costs in light of the unprecedented market conditions,” read a statement from Wolseley Ireland on Wednesday.
“We will do all we can to ensure that those affected are treated with the utmost consideration at this difficult time.”
Mayor of Athlone, Cllr Egbert Moran, said the announcement was very unfortunate news for Athlone. “Wolseley is a great employer in Athlone. A few jobs have already gone there in recent months, and it is purely down to the downturn in the building trade. But both Wolseley and Elan are staying open, and where there is life, there’s hope.”
Meanwhile Cllr Paul Hogan said that, coming on the same day as the news of layoffs at Elan, the Wolseley losses compounded a bleak time for the town. “It is not certain whether Athlone is affected as of yet, but if so, it will further add to this black day for workers in the town.”