Breaking bad - JTI’s top PR man gave Mayor closure details

New Mayor of Ballymena, Cllr. Audrey Wales. INBT24-206AC
New Mayor of Ballymena, Cllr. Audrey Wales. INBT24-206AC

The Mayor of Ballymena has revealed that the head of Corporate Affairs at Gallaher JTI called with her yesterday to break the bad news about the Lisnafillan plant’s closure.

Audrey Wales says it is now vital that Council and other organisations work together to support the people and businesses affected by the JTI Gallaher closure.

She said: “The prospect of JTI Gallaher moving its production facilities away from Ballymena is a major blow to the Borough and our thoughts go out to its staff at this difficult and uncertain time.

“The Head of Corporate Affairs at JTI Gallaher came to see me yesterday afternoon to inform me of the devastating news and to tell me there will now be a consultation period of 90 days with unions and staff.

“The plan to close the Lisnafillan site will take almost £60m out of our economy in salaries and affect 100 support companies with almost £20m loss of business.

“As a Council, we endeavour to help grow the local economy and support local enterprise, training and development. It is now even more important that the Council and other organisations continue to work together to support those individuals and businesses affected by this and to identify long-term opportunities to develop the local economy.”