herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Fergie had earlier row with Vita Cortex boss

DISPUTE: United boss spoke against incinerator in 2002

ALEX Ferguson's support for the Vita Cortex workers was not the first time he intervened in a row with company owner Jack Ronan, it has emerged.

The Manchester United boss this week told the sit-in protesters to "stick with it" in their fight for more redundancy money.

And a decade ago, Fergie came out strongly against an incinerator Mr Ronan wanted to build in Tipperary.

However, it is not known whether the football legend was aware of the connection between the two disputes.

His stance on the incinerator was influenced by his then involvement with racehorse trainer Aidan O'Brien, whose Ballydoyle stables were near the site of the planned facility.



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"I cannot see how I could continue to recommend visiting the area to my friends and contacts," the United manager said in 2002.

At the time, South Tipperary County Council had granted planning permission to Mr Ronan's company National By-Products. But facility was never built as the Ronan family decided not to go ahead it.

They cited their concern about "the serious divisions that have arisen in the local community where five generations of the family have lived and worked".

In the Vita Cortex row, Mr Ronan says he is unable to pay the redundancy money demanded by the workers.

The employees spoke of their amazement at receiving a telephone call from Mr Ferguson. Worker Jim Power said it was "amazing" of him to ring.

comurphy@herald.ie

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