Shock in Gweedore as more than thirty jobs are axed

James Moran, SLM Ireland.

LESS than a month after promising to deliver more jobs to Gweedore, a UK Digital Marketing company has closed its doors.
The news was relayed to shocked staff by representatives from a firm of liquidators in Dublin at the Manchester based SLM Connect’s premises on the Business Park this afternoon. The company had been in operation for only thirteen months.
Local Councillor Michael Cholm Mac Giolla Easbuig said he was both very angry and annoyed.
“The staff were given their P45s this afternoon. It’s come like a bolt out of the blue and I’m extremely angry. This is another terrible day for west Donegal. Here were are – another multi-national taking tax payers money before f…ing off.
“It’s the mouth of Christmas and staff are told the liquidators Friel Stafford from Dublin have already been appointed. It’s truly shocking,” Mac Giolla Easbuig said.
Staff were officially informed when they were called to a meeting at 2pm this afternoon, Thursday.
In April 2016, the company announced that it was to expand its operations and establish a new base on the Business Park. The expansion plan, supported by Údarás na Gaeltachta, was expected to lead to the creation of 125 jobs..
However, last month a spokesman for an tÚdarás confirmed that there are only 32 people employed on site at present – 24 full time and 12 part time.
The company, SLM Éire Teo, offers contact centre and business processing outsourcing solutions to its clients from its new facility.
Údarás na Gaeltachta said it that it too was taken aback by the annoucement.
“Although company management maintained customary and regular correspondence with Údarás na Gaeltachta, as late as yesterday evening, Údarás were not given any indication that the company was to close today. Údarás have not received any contact from the company in this regard as yet,” a spokesman said.
“In line with its standard support schemes, Údarás na Gaeltachta approved a comprehensive support package for SLM Ceangail Éire Teo. when they were first established in Gaoth Dobhair in early 2016 and every appropriate assistance and support possible under state aid rules was made available to the Company.
“There were 32 people employed in the company (24 full time and 8 part time) and it is reported that eight new posts were to commence in the company in January. A total of €171,467 in grant aid (Employment & Training Grants & Rental Subsidy) has been paid to the company to date. When the appropriate details are officially confirmed as regards reports of the companies liquidation Údarás na Gaeltachta will take all appropriate steps as regards recoupment of state aid invested,” the spokesman said.
Mícheál Ó hÉanaigh, Chief Executive Údarás na Gaeltachta said “This news is a significant source of disappointment for the Gaoth Dobhair community just before the Christmas period and especially for the workers who have lost their jobs today. Údarás na Gaeltachta will continue with our diligent efforts to create new jobs on Gaoth Dobhair Business Park.”
When contacted last month Mr James Moran, manager SLM Éire Teo indicated that he had taken a step back from the company’s Donegal operation.
“I no longer feel the need to be there on a day to day basis. Things have stablised. There’s  about 30 people working in Gaoth Dobhair at present and we’ll be looking to add to that in 2018,” Mr Moran said.
The Donegal News was unable to make contact with the company SLM Éire Teo this afternoon.

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