A major tobacco firm is to shut one of its factories in the Midlands.
Imperial Tobacco is to close its manufacturing plant in Mullingar, Co Westmeath with the loss of 87 jobs.
The company, which said most staff will be laid off in October, blamed European rules on the introduction of a 30g minimum pack size for rolling tobacco which it said forced the closure of some production lines.
The manufacturing will move to the Netherlands.
Willie Penrose, Labour TD for Longford-Westmeath, said the factory has been pivotal to the local economy for the best part of 50 years.
“Through the years, it always had a sound industrial relations environment, and this shock proposal to close down this manufacturing facility is a huge blow to the 87 employees, their families and of course the economic activity in Mullingar,” he said.
Ian King, Imperial’s operations director for western Europe factory management, said the threat to jobs had been raised with the government in 2013 when the regulations on pack size were being proposed.
“Unfortunately, we received no constructive response. We would like to thank local politicians who had taken an interest in how the proposal would have affected jobs in Mullingar,” he said.