Today’s announcement of 90 job losses at the MSD facility in Brinny naturally raises concerns about the future of the facility. Although the numbers involved are a serious blow to the local economy I would be more positive as the future prospects.

Today’s losses are linked to a fall in demand for products from the site. To be more precise,  “the company’s levels of interferon are sufficient for demand now and in the near future”. The plant appears to have been producing higher volumes than required for some time. This has happened before and today’s job losses appear to be a recurring phenomenon at the facility.

In 2004 the facility, then owned by Schering Plough, shed 170 jobs in the wake of a major fall in sales of the company’s anti-cancer drug. One year later the plant let go 160 staff. The lay-offs were again linked to decreases in demand for products manufactured or produced at the site.

More worrying was the announcement of 160 job losses in 2010, in the wake of the merger between Schering Plough and MSD. These reductions were part of a post-merger rationalisation drive by MSD. However, one year later, in 2011, the company invested 29 million into the facility creating over 70 jobs in R&D and vaccine production. Biopharmaceuticals is a growth sector and Brinny appears to be a strategic site of the company. Job losses and gains seem to be a ‘usual’ dynamic at the site.

chris.vanegeraat@nuim.ie

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