After nearly two decades in Athy, Coca-Cola is shuttering its local factory

The company is shifting production to Ballina in Mayo and cutting dozens of jobs.

By Declan Brennan & Sarah-Jane Murphy

COCA-COLA HAS announced that closure of its concentrate manufacturing plant in Athy, leading to the loss of more than 80 jobs at the facility.

The company said that it was planning to shift production from the Co Kildare factory to a high-capacity plant in Mayo.

Coca-Cola said 43 of the 82 roles being axed at Athy would be transferred to the Ballina facility and existing staff would have the option of moving with their positions to the other facility.

In a statement, the company said it will “commence a period of consultation with employee representatives at Athy International Concentrates”. Coca-Cola said it planned to close the plant on a phased basis from September this year until the end of 2019.

“If the transfer goes ahead and the Athy plant closes, in addition to a redundancy package, the company will be providing supports including financial advice, job search and re-training for the employees affected,” the company said.

“We also have enjoyed an extremely positive relationship with the local community and we will continue to engage with them on community initiatives that will benefit the town for the long-term.”

Disappointment

Allan Shine, CEO of County Kildare Chamber of Commerce, said that the announcement of the job losses is “extremely disappointing”.

“We have been in touch with Athy Concentrates this afternoon to offer our support for the employees who this afternoon received this shocking news,” Shine said.

“We will offer a wide range of supports to the company and its employees over the forthcoming weeks but our immediate thoughts are with those affected by today’s news,” he said.

Coca-Cola acquired the Athy plant in 2000, however the site has been in operation since the 1970s. The company also closed a plant in Drogheda around 10 years ago, resulting in the loss of approximately 250 jobs.

Together with its bottling and distribution offshoot, Coca-Cola Hellenic Bottling Company, the Coca-Cola group still employs approximately 1,600 people in Ireland.

The bottling arm reported a profit of €9.85 million in 2016, according to its most recent accounts, an increase on the €6.2 million figure it recorded the previous year.

Its manufacturing and other Irish wings employ an unlimited company structure, which means they do not have to file publicly accessible accounts.

Reporting by Hayley Halpin and Peter Bodkin.