Building collapse and Quinn Group woes blamed on job losses

The collapse of the construction industry and the downfall of the Quinn Group were key factors behind a Longford based company’s decision to lay off 45 of its staff this week.

The collapse of the construction industry and the downfall of the Quinn Group were key factors behind a Longford based company’s decision to lay off 45 of its staff this week.

Workers at Longford town firm Fenelon Engineering, part of the wider Fenelon Group, were told of the news in recent days following a series of meetings with management.

All of the redundancies, revealed on longfordleader.ie last Wednesday, were made with immediate effect. .

A spokesperson for the long established firm said the move was disappointing but one that was unavoidable given the continued stagnation of the building industry.

An even larger obstacle facing the business however was the ongoing pressures facing some of its biggest clients, most notably The Quinn Group.

“It was a very difficult decision to have to make,” said a company spokesperson earlier this week. “It’s just the way it is. Sean Quinn was a huge customer of ours. The on-site work just isn’t there any more.”

Established over 35 years ago, at its height The Fenelon Group employed almost 180 staff, specialising in site services, fabrication, recycling and structural steel.

The decision to trim its present workforce by 45 is also expected to form part of switch of premises from its current location in the Templmichael area of town to a smaller facility and previous location in the Townspark Industrial Estate.

Despite the downsizing, other aspects of the Fenelon Group are expected to remain intact with hopes also emerging that some staff might be re-hired at a later stage.

Jimmy Hussey, an employee with The Fenelon Group for the past 23 years, said management had assisted those affected by the decision in every possible way.

“As a family and as an employer, you couldn’t get anyone better. They gave employment where they could and they looked after people,” he said.

Now aged 51, Mr Hussey believes his chances of securing alternative work looked bleak. However, the experienced paint-sprayer said aspirations remained high that some workers could be retained over the coming weeks.

“At my age it will be hard to get work alright though it’s not all doom and gloom, there is some hope,” he told the Leader, adding the the Fenelon Group was made up of “ great people and they always treated people with the height of respect.”