D-Day looms for Roche

THE future of one of Clare’s flagship employers is hanging in the balance this week as workers at the multi-million euro Roche Ireland pharmaceutical plant in Clarecastle await a decision on whether the company will remain open or close its doors.
The Clare People has learned that this is the stark scenario facing workers as the Switzerland-based Roche Group prepares to shut down one of two pharmaceutical plants – either its Clarecastle operation that has been in operation since 1977, or the 20-year-old manufacturing complex in Florence, South Carolina.
Roche Ireland employs up to 225 people in Clarecastle, while a further 150 people are employed as contractors at the facility, but received a hammer blow recently when it was revealed that the Roche Group was ending the trials of a heart drug Dalcetrapib because of what was called “a lack of clinically meaningful efficacy”.
Now comes the closure threat to a company that has contributed over €100m to the Clare economy since its construction and numerous expansions that helped its original parent company Syntex and then Roche rank among the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world.
“We don’t know what is going to happen, but we are very worried,” one worker told The Clare People. “All we do know is that it could be the company in Florence, but it could be also Clarecastle. We are hoping that it’s not us, because the big thing we have going for us is the incineration facilities, something Florence doesn’t have,” the worker added.
The Clare People contacted Roche Ireland on Monday, but a spokesperson for the company was unavailable for comment, but Managing Director Sven Hauptmann said following the withdrawal of the Dalcetrapib drug that the company was “aware of the concerns of employees and contractors and appreciate the uncertainty that the news causes”, but that it “was too early to assess the impact, if any on the manufacturing sites”.
For more see page 18 of this weeks Clare People


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