The Bishop of Connor, the Rt Rev Alan Abernethy, has described the announcement of closure of the Michelin tyre factory in Ballymena in 2018 as a ‘huge blow’ to workers and their families.
Ballymena and surrounding area lies within the Diocese of Connor, and the Bishop said the Church would offer pastoral support to parishioners affected by job losses.
Speaking after news of the pending closure broke, Bishop Abernethy said: “Like many others, I was deeply concerned to learn of the recent announcement of the forthcoming closure of the Michelin tyre factory in Ballymena in 2018.
“This is a huge blow to the 860 workers directly affected and their families but also to the people of the surrounding area and to local businesses. I am conscious, too, of others who have lost their jobs in the area in recent times.”
The Bishop continued: “As well as the wider impact of these job losses, of course, they come at personal and family cost of stress as people look for employment alternatives and we in the Church will hold them in our prayers and offer pastoral support in our parishes.
“The announcement of the job losses also presents a huge challenge to our political and civic leaders to bring new investment and opportunities to the area. I would urge everyone to redouble their efforts to ensure the well-being and prosperity of the hard-working people of this area.”