Gallaher’s closure is a ‘hammer blow’ – Ross

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The closure of JTI Gallaher’s factory is a ‘hammer blow’ for the local economy, East Antrim MLA Alastair Ross has said.

Staff at the Ballymena cigarette plant were told last week that it is to close permanently by 2017 with the loss of over 800 jobs. The impact of the news is being felt across Northern Ireland, with many of the workforce coming from the East Antrim area.

“JTI Gallaher’s is one of Northern Ireland’s best known employers, so the news that approximately 800 jobs will be lost is an absolute hammer blow for the local economy,” Mr Ross said.

The closure will also mean the loss of millions from the local economy, according to Northern Ireland Independent Retail Trade Association, which warned those who supply goods and services in the Co Antrim area would suffer.