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Wallboard Arklow | by Kinsella Media
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Wallboard Arklow

The derelict Wallboard factory on the North quay in Arklow Co Wicklow, Ireland.

 

Closed for over 25 years now but back in its day workers here were busy making plaster board from a gypsum by-product.

 

Sadly the plant closed as a result of financial difficulties the parent company N.E.T later called I.F.I had incurred following the construction of a new fertilizer plant at Marino Point in Cork. The project ran way over budget £140 million to build, over three times the original estimate of £38 million.

 

The Arklow factory was the one to pay the price...and a huge one at that. The Sulphuric Acid Plant, the small ammonia plant at Arklow and Wallboard - were sacrificed, all amputated in the name of making economies.

 

On the altar of competitiveness and efficiency, IFI in Arklow was to see its workforce decimated, slimmed down from over 1,200 at its height to under 200 to-day.

 

The Irish Fertiliser Industry's plant in Arklow closed in 2000, the first high profile commercial victim of the deadlocked dispute between Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail) and the Irish Locomotive Drivers association.

 

175 workers have been laid off, with an assurance that the factory will re-open once ammonia trains from Cork resume. The plant had not been receiving supplies of ammonia by rail from Cork because of the refusal of SIPTU and NBRU drivers to do work normally done by ILDA members. In the meantime, the company carried out tests with ultrasound equipment on a pipeline, which was used in the eighties to carry the ammonia into the plant from a ship in the harbour. If the pipeline was intact, they would consider bringing supplies from Cork in by boat.

 

 

The speculation ended for the employees on the 15th of October 2002 as news reached employees of the imminent closure of the IFI factory at Arklow. Open since 1964 with generations of families passing through the doors, it was a major blow to the town and surrounding areas.

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Taken on July 9, 2017