The news that Liberty Mutual Insurance are to make 285 jobs redundant came as “no surprise” to locals last week, but it did bring much dismay.
75 jobs in Cavan, 70 in Enniskillen and 140 in Blachardstown are to be lost as part of the restructuring of Liberty Insurance, the company who took over from Quinn in 2011. Both Cavan and Enniskillen centres employ people from Leitrim.
The company told staff the development is necessary to “secure the future of the company.” The redundancies are voluntary but the company has not ruled out compulsory job losses.
CEO of Liberty Insurance said decision on redundancies was made to position the company for sustainable profitability and to protect the existing 1,100 jobs. “We are fully committed to the Irish business, will continue to invest in our business, and believe that our arrival has been positive for the Irish Insurance market and consumers,” Patrick O’Brien said. He added that management, employees and the employee representative body would work together during a 30 day consultation period.
The development comes on top of 900 redundancies two years ago at the company, back then there was a promise of no more job losses in the three locations.
In response to the local redundancies, the Quinn family have called for a public inquiry into the Administration of Quinn Insurance. “In August 2012, the Irish Government stated that it had “been misled by incomplete information” from the Administrators. The Quinn family has continuously maintained that the deal agreed between Anglo Irish Bank and the Administrators will have the worst possible outcome for the State,” they stated.
Concerned Irish Citizens said they were appalled “but not surprised” at the announcement of the loss of 285 jobs at Liberty, they also a public inquiry. “We will not give up until we obtain the transparency and accountability that we were promised,” they stated.
Independent MEP Marian Harkin said, “The Minister must now institute an immediate evaluation of the current position of all of the former Quinn Group companies and ascertain the intentions of the current owners, if they can be identified. “The border areas cannot sustain any more shock announcements from Liberty Mutual or from the owners of former Quinn Group companies which could be disposed of at any time.
“The Government which was so bullish about removing the Quinn family involvement in the Quinn Group must now face up to the consequences including the cost to the State of the 1,185 jobs lost which could now cost the State in excess of €12 million per annum dependent on how many of the redundant workers will be able to secure alternative employment”, she concluded.
Joe Higgins TD for the Socialist Party/United Left Alliance speaking from his constituency in Blanchardstown said “The fallout of the collapse of Quinn Insurance is clearly continuing to have devastating consequences. Consumers, on one hand, are being hit with a 2% levy on motor and home policies and workers, on the other, are losing their jobs.” He said the Liberty Mutual Group made massive profits last year and is “following the lead of countless companies before it, by using the recession to sack workers and further increase its profitability.”
“This company should be taken into public ownership and a plan developed to secure all the jobs,” he stated.