Local businesses fear knock-on effect of HP closure
Business representatives fear there is "no one shouting for Kildare" at the Cabinet table in the wake of huge job losses at HP Inc.
Shops, hotels, restaurants and anyone who supplies goods or services to HP or its employees will be hit by the closure of the site in Leixlip.
Many workers live in the town, but many also commute by train and use a shuttle bus service to get to the plant.
Businesses yesterday anticipated the knock-on effect of the closure.
"HP has been a fantastic employer in Leixlip for over 20 years now. It's a sad day for the local community and, principally of course, for its employees, to see the business wind down," said Yvonne Moriarty, of the Court Yard Hotel in Leixlip.
"As a major hotel in the town, we would have benefited greatly from HP accommodation and event bookings, not to mention the personal spend of local employees."
The manager of the local Spar shop, Donal Dennison, also said the news is a blow for the town.
"We get passing trade and people who come here to buy lunches, so we may well feel a drop in trade as a result of the HP decision," he told the Herald.
"Every small drop in footfall does affect a community."
Bernie Macari, owner of Macari's Diner, also feared a hit to trade.
"It will affect everybody, not just us," he said. "Some of my customers are couples working in HP. The recession hit hard and, just when we were seeing a small improvement, this happens."
The head of the North Kildare Chamber, Allan Shine, said the news is a massive blow.
"We feel very sad at this time for the employees, their families, the local communities and the business communities in Kildare," he told the Herald.
"We haven't had a senior minister sitting at the Cabinet table for the past 12 years, since Charlie McCreevy left.
"That's a huge deficit in our minds, that we've only got local TDs, nobody at the Cabinet table shouting for Kildare.
"So we have to take that on and ensure we work closely with Kildare County Council to push Kildare as an ideal location of choice."
Mr Shine said he met Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor and the IDA and they were confident of finding a company to fill the void left by HP.