Doubts hanging over the possible loss of up to 50 jobs at a well-known Longford town manufacturer have been averted this afternoon (Thursday), longfordleader.ie can reveal.
Senior Longford County Council executives held discussions earlier this morning with the owners of the company after it was revealed the firm had fallen behind with its local authority rate payments.
Those negotiations, it is understood, ended amicably with a successful resolution having been found.
The talks followed a stormy meeting of Longford Town Council last night in which it was claimed the long time employer was facing an uncertain future.
Cllr Paul Connell said the undisclosed business, which is known to longfordleader.ie, tried on several occasions to broker a deal with the council’s recently formed rate collection committee without success.
“All he (business owner) wanted to do was to sit down with this committee that was set up and they (committee) have refused him,” he told the meeting.”
The independent councillor said he could not understand the “heavy-handed” tactics now being employed by Longford Town Council at a time when many businesses were struggling to survive.
Pointing out that the firm in question had already handed over €1.5m in rates to Longford Town Council, Cllr Connell claimed serious question marks had arisen from the fallout.
“ He did give his accounts to the council and they were misread by the Department of Finance in Longford County Council by over €300,000. That is a fact and if this is the heavy-hand tactics that the executive are going to use on people, we are going to have more premises closed in this town,” he scoffed.
Cllr Connell, who received the unanimous backing of his eight fellow town councillors, also hinted at pulling out of future local authority budget meetings in protest.
Fianna Fail’s Tony Flaherty was just as outspoken as he openly criticised the approach of finance officials when dealing with hard-pressed businesses.
Sitting upright in his chair, Cllr Flaherty raged: “I presumed that this committee was set up to stop the bullyboy tactics and deal with the rate payer in a fair way. Unfortunately that hasn’t happened. What the executive have to realise and the general public have to realise is that it is us nine sitting around this chamber here tonight that knocks on that businessman’s door like every other business person in 2014, and previously in 2009, looking for a vote.
“In my 18 years as a councillor I have always found Longford Town Council very fair with the rate payer, but it’s about time these people sitting behind their desks explain to the public why they are making these kind of decisions.”
For further details on this story, see next week’s Longford Leader.