There was mixed news on the jobs front for Galway yesterday with the announcement of 45 lucrative new jobs at Boston Scientific being overshadowed by the news that 70 jobs are in doubt after top motor dealer Tom Hogan Motors went into voluntary liquidation.
The announcement that the motor dealership had gone into voluntary liquidation came just hours after Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Mary Coughlan visited the Boston SCientific plant at Ballybrit to announce the €91 million investment.
At the early morning press conference, she revealed that Boston Scientific, which specialises in medical devices for use in minimally invasive surgical procedures, is to invest a further €91 million in a research, development, and innovation (RD&I ) initiative at its site in Galway, with the support of Government through IDA Ireland, which will create 45 new high calibre jobs.
This significant investment will enable BSC Galway to take a major step-up in technology, scale and technical innovation for RD&I at the site. It will move BSC Galway’s R&D from late stage development to an earlier, innovative stage, requiring the development of new competencies and skill sets to deepen the facility’s technology capabilities so that it can create new pioneering technology.
“Boston Scientific employs approximately 5000 people in Ireland, 3000 of which are located in Galway. This investment by BSC, a renowned global corporation and a reference life science company in Ireland, is an enormous boost of confidence in Ireland’s RD&I abilities,” she said.
It elevates this country to an elite position among world locations which have the capability to support next generation research and innovation. The sheer scale, high complexity and critical strategic importance of this project to a global company of the calibre of BSC will further increase the focus of international foreign direct investors on Ireland, for both RD&I and for projects from all sectors,” said Ms Coughlan
Hank Kucheman, Boston Scientific senior vice president and group president, cardiovascular sector, said: the company is pleased to make this strategic investment in Ireland, which builds on its positive and long established presence here and further demonstrates its commitment to the country.
“The performance and success of our Galway site, the high calibre of talented people in Ireland and the country’s commitment to RD&I, particularly through the innovative approaches of both the Government and IDA Ireland, gave us confidence that this was the correct setting for this important investment,” he continued.
This investment at the Galway facility is closely aligned to BSC’s corporate strategy, which is to build a robust pipeline of RD&I projects across all of its businesses designed to maintain and grow its current market leadership positions and generate strong future revenue streams. In 2009, BSC estimates that over a third of its revenue will come from new product introductions.
An Tánaiste said that BSC’s confidence in choosing its Galway facility to undertake this RD&I was based on its successful experiences in Ireland over the past 15 years and the factors which created that success. These factors are Ireland’s well proven competitive advantages which are available to all foreign direct investors. They include an abundant supply of people who are highly educated and technically skilled to the best international standards, a business support and physical infrastructure ‘honed’ over decades of FDI experience, and one of the leading pro-business economic and political environments anywhere in the world”.
Boston Scientific employs approximately 3,000 people at its site in Ballybrit Business Park, Galway and celebrated its 15th anniversary here with a large staff party in The Dome at the Clayton Hotel last weekend.
Cllr Mike Crowe has today welcomed the announcement, saying thatthis is a major funding announcement by the Government in a company that is of significant importance to Galway and the entire western region
“We have seen over the years Boston Scientific play an integral role in the economy of Galway and I am delighted that the IDA see fit to continue their commitment to companies like this in Galway.
“Added to this there will also be a small number of high tech jobs and this will create further employment.
“It is a reflection on the employees and management at the site and I believe will further enhance the performance of the Galway site,” he said.
Meanwhile Tom Hogan Motors is expected to make a statement today following the voluntary liquidation of the company yesterday morning. It is understood the company has taken the decision following a drop in sales.
The closure will see the loss of some 70 jobs at its Ballybrit headquarters. Branches will also close in Ennis, Shannon, Limerick, and Clonmel with the loss of a further 120 jobs.
Tom Hogan Motors is one of the biggest suppliers of Toyota and Lexus models in the country, and is also an agent for BMW since it took over the company franchise from Barry Motors last year. The company also had a substantial used car dealership.
David Shannon, managing director of Toyota Ireland, confirmed yesterday that the company is to enter liquidation and moved to reassure Toyota and Lexus customers in the wake of the closure.
“The management of the Tom Hogan Motor Group have informed us that they are putting the group into voluntary liquidation and they, like us, want to ensure that the impact on customers will be minimal,” Mr Shannon said. “We want to assure customers that all Toyota and Lexus vehicles purchased through the group continue to carry full manufacturer's warranty and that any service needs customers may have can be dealt with through the Toyota and Lexus dealer network. Customers can also contact Toyota Ireland customer relations on (01 ) 4190200.
“It is sad to see a company of the calibre of Tom Hogan Motor Group being forced into liquidation as a result of the extraordinarily difficult economic climate in which the country finds itself,” Mr Shannon added.
BMW Group Ireland in a statement yesterday also reassured BMW and Mini customers that they could avail of the company’s services through other outlets in the network.
“BMW Group Ireland has been informed that as a result of trading difficulties the Tom Hogan Toyota and Lexus business has gone into voluntary liquidation. As a result BMW Group Ireland understands that Tom Hogan BMW and MINI, which has been a stand alone company since it joined the BMW Group Ireland network in October 2008, will cease trading with immediate effect,” the statement read. “BMW Group Ireland wishes to emphasise that it is committed to maintaining a sales presence in Galway, which is an important location for both BMW and MINI.
“Customers with either BMW or MINI service or warranty requirements will be able to avail of aftersales facilities in other dealers and authorised repairers from the BMW Group network.”
The Ballybrit premises was closed throughout yesterday and its website has been disabled.
Local councillor Declan McDonnell yesterday described the closure of the company and the loss of jobs as “frightening”.
“The loss of jobs and the closure of Tom Hogan Motors is frightening,” Cllr McDonnell said. “Everything must be done to secure a new dealership so that jobs in Tom Hogan can be saved.”