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Friday, 17 August, 2001, 16:55 GMT 17:55 UK
Chip maker shuts Irish factory
Graphic of PCs
The US chip maker General Semiconductor is shutting up shop in County Cork in the south west of Ireland with the loss of almost 700 jobs.


This announcement is a further reflection of the downturn in the United States technology industry

Mary Harney
Deputy Prime Minister
The announcement came as a blow, both to the small town of Macroom where the factory is based and to the Irish economy where nearly 4,000 hi-tech jobs have been lost since the beginning of this year.

General Semiconductor aims to slash costs by $25m a year in a response to a 30% drop in the overall semiconductor market this year, the company said in a statement.

This is the second hit taken by the Irish computer industry in about a week after Gateway's decision to slash almost 900 Irish jobs and shut down its European headquarters in Dublin.


The people of Macroom have been shocked by the plant closure
"This announcement is a further reflection of the downturn in the United States technology industry," said the deputy Irish premier Mary Harney who is also the enterprise, trade and employment minister.

"I am, of course, concerned at the impact this is having on employment in the sector in Ireland," she said.

Ms Harney expressed confidence in the Irish economy, however, and vowed to seek another company to provide new jobs for the people of Macroom.

Tech-jobs

The workers at the General Semiconductor plant, which has been in Macroom since 1982, will lose their jobs by the end of the year.

Gateway, Dublin
Gateway is to close its European headquarters in Dublin

Their fate has been shared by other Irish workers which have been laid off this year by the computer giants Gateway and Dell and by the chipmaker Intel.

These US companies' investment into Ireland in the past decade has aided the economy's sharp growth which peaked at 11.5% last year.

Early this week, the International Monetary Fund said Ireland's economic growth will slow to a more sustainable rate this year and next.

See also:

13 Aug 01 | Business
Irish economic growth 'to slow'
09 Aug 01 | Business
End of Irish boom in sight?
10 Aug 01 | Business
'No firm decision' says Gateway
29 May 01 | Business
Irish unemployment at record low
21 May 01 | Business
OECD praises Irish economy
03 Aug 01 | Business
Tough times for PC firms
20 Jul 01 | Business
Global PC sales slump
06 Mar 01 | Business
PC price war escalates
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