26 August 2004 Edition

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West Belfast brewery to close

Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams says he is angry and disappointed at the decision of Bass Ireland's parent company, Interbrew, to cease manufacturing at the Ulster Brewery in West Belfast.

Uncertainty about the future of the Glen Road brewery was first raised earlier this year, when it failed to secure the renewal of its lucrative Lucozade bottling contract, despite a massive £2.3 million injection into the Glen Road site by Invest NI in recent years.

Interbrew had been seeking to sell the facility as a going concern but no buyers emerged.

The closure of the brewery will result in the loss of 85 jobs and will end 107 years of beer making in West Belfast.

A series of meetings had taken place between Sinn Féin, trade unionists and executives from Interbrew over the issue.

West Belfast MP Gerry Adams said the decision to dispense with the manufacturing facility is a devastating blow to workers, their families and to the community of West Belfast.

"Over the past number of years we have made advances in spearheading the regeneration on West Belfast and the loss of these jobs is a blow to this regeneration," he said. "It is one of the largest private sector employers in the area and as such acts as a flagship for other investors."

Adams said Sinn Féin would continue to meet with Interbrew and union representatives to ensure that the redundant workers' rights are safeguarded and he will be seeking a commitment from Interbrew that it will maintain distribution, marketing and administration at the Glen Road facility.


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