Mid and East Antrim Borough Councillor Audrey Wales MBE has expressed sadness and shock at the planned closure of the Michelin Plant in Ballymena by mid-2018.
Councillor Wales said: “Born and bred in Ballymena, I was brought up alongside the growing Michelin Plant, which has been in the Borough since 1969.
“Many of my friends in the local community have worked there for a long number of years.
“My heartfelt sympathies go out to the staff who are going to lose their jobs. I am very aware that this announcement does not only affect those directly employed by the company but many other small businesses who supply their services to Michelin.
“Ballymena is a close-knit community and we will work together to manage what is devastating news for our Borough,” she said.
Cllr Wales added: “I have already been in contact with Invest Northern Ireland and can assure everyone that we in Mid and East Antrim Borough Council will do what we can to secure the best outcome for all those who will be impacted.
“Council and Michelin have always had a strong positive relationship. During my time as an Elected Member and Past President of the Ballymena Chamber of Commerce, I worked closely with the senior team at the Ballymena plant.
“Michelin was indeed ahead of its time when it introduced its Development Programme across Country Antrim and I would like to thank the company for the way it encouraged and supported local entrepreneurs and business start-ups over their years.
“I understand that Michelin Development has today begun preparations to release more than £5 million to help company start-ups, fund expansions at existing businesses and supply investment to help attract new business to the Borough.
“This does not soften the impact of the job losses in our area, however and Council will remain in close contact with Michelin in an effort to identify any other feasible alternatives,”she concluded.