More than 173 people are to lose their jobs with the closure of the Thomson NETg e-learning company in Plassey Technology Park in Limerick.
The closure comes only a year and a half after the company announced a €12m expansion plan that would have created 360 new jobs in Limerick and Birr, Co. Offaly. However, not long after the announcement pressures of the troubled IT market downturn resulted in 50 jobs being shed.
Thomson NETg had been based in Limerick since 1998 and is renowned as one of the world’s leading suppliers of e-learning products to the corporate marketplace.
The closure of the company in Limerick will take place in a number of phases between 16 January and 12 March 2004.
The company’s president Joe Dougherty said that the decision was taken to cease operations in Limerick as part of Thomson NETg’s response to changes in the e-learning business environment with less demand than anticipated.
However, news this afternoon from Irish courseware developer Electric Paper, indicated that not all was bad in the e-learning sector. The company, which was recently acquired by ThirdForce plc, revealed that its International Computer Driving License (ICDL) courseware is to be made available to all secondary schools in Hong Kong for the 2004 term, following a successful pilot earlier this year.
Expressing her disappointment at the Thomson NETg news the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise and Employment Mary Harney TD said: “This news will come as severe blow to the workforce and their families. Every possible support will be made available by the relevant state agencies to ensure that those affected can find alternative employment.
“My sense of disappointment is heightened by the fact that this news comes in a week when we had a very positive development on the jobs front in the region with the announcement of a major investment in the financial services sector in Shannon,” the Tánaiste added.
By John Kennedy