Northern Ireland

Carrickfergus traders react to FG Wilson job losses

Caterpillar, which owns FG Wilson, announced on Thursday that 760 people would lose their jobs in Northern Ireland. The losses will be spread out across the company's four sites at Larne, Belfast, Springvale and Monkstown. Many people who work at the Larne and Monkstown plants live in Carrickfergus. Traders there gave their reaction to BBC News Online on how the job losses would impact on the town.

Robert Stewart - Chairman of Carrickfergus Traders Association

"Our heartfelt sympathies go out to those that have been affected.

"I think we're all backs to the wall at the minute and I think we're in the same position as those families are about to be.

"We are trying to build Carrickfergus from within. We want a strong-based Carrickfergus to promote to new shops to come to the town and so far that's been very successful with three in the last month.

"The job losses are a complete knock-back. For a small town like us who are struggling to pick up the pieces from a regeneration and rebuild from the ground up.

"We want to make Carrickfergus a medieval-themed town where people come to shop and how can that help?"

Kirsty Fallis, owner of Dobbins Inn Hotel

"It's heartbreaking for the families and for the town as a whole because job losses mean people don't have extra to spend.

"There would have been businesses or people who had to deal with FG Wilson who would have had to come to Carrick and perhaps would have used the hotel for accommodation or for something to eat or drink so it affects everybody.

"Certainly from the hotel's point of view, we've been in business for 35 years and we've seen so many businesses come and go, and it's just another blow to Carrickfergus.

"With the number of possible job losses they won't have the extra spend or the money to go out for dinner or buy things that they would have before.

"Obviously money is going to be extremely tight. We're coming into Christmas time and there's not going to be the same wish to go out and have Christmas parties, so yes, it is a worrying time."

Noel Robert Hartley - fruit and veg shop owner

"I'm sorry to hear that staff are being laid off. It's going to have a big impact in Carrickfergus because a lot of people will be losing their jobs and there will be no money coming into the town.

"I was optimistic when I set my business up in April. I was trying to do something for myself and put a service back into Carrickfergus and get people to support me.

"There's over 600 people, a third of them are from Carrick, so I would say it's going to be a bit hard.

"There's not many businesses left in Carrick to provide employment for those who have lost their jobs."

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