‘Apocalyptic’ blow to Ballymena - Paisley

Ian Paisley will make a donation to Londonderry cancer charity Pink Ladies
Ian Paisley will make a donation to Londonderry cancer charity Pink Ladies

North Antrim MP Ian Paisley said the news that Michelin will close its doors in North Antrim in 2018 is ‘apocalyptic’.

He said the closure represented a massive body blow to manufacturing industry in Northern Ireland.

On a local perspective, he noted that the factory closure would mean the loss of millions of pounds of wages annually.

“Frankly it is hard to come to terms with this,” said the DUP man. ““I understand that the announcement is part of a wider EU re-structuring by the company and anyone who has followed tyre manufacturing trends, as I have, will have noticed the impact that cheap Far Eastern imports have had on Goodyear and how over-capacity has resulted in re-structuring elsewhere.

“The North Antrim factory has put up a valiant fight, but today they have bowed their head. I have for several years campaigned for reduced energy costs to assist this company and I know that much work was done to assist them from central government.

“But the re-structuring has not saved the North Antrim plant and frankly the UK operation, whilst they have cut off an arm today, I believe their ultimate survival is not certain. “I have spoken with Michelin and I have secured from the Michelin Development Community Fund (MDCF), £5 million to assist the local community with new employment start-ups. This will go some way in creating fresh opportunities.

“I have today tabled an urgent question in parliament and intend on raising this matter tomorrow (Wednesday). This sees another massive blow to the manufacturing industry in North Antrim and my heart goes out to all those affected.”