While Waterford Crystal workers worry about their fate, we understand that the situation in Germany is not dissimilar for Rosenthal (see separate story).
Over 1,500 work in Northern Bavaria for Rosenthal, a leading employer in that region. 9000 worked there at one stage. The Bavarian state parliament wants to give a €50 million state guarantee to the new investors that are interested in buying the company so as to maintain employment.
The German Chancellor in Berlin is also being canvassed to support a guarantee
for that sum to save jobs.
Downstream jobs are at risk if the crystal factory and visitor centre are not maintained. Could the government buy the visitor centre and remaining factory building and lease it back to the new owners.
This had been talked about in the run up to the New Year deadline for payments on the bond to Bank Of America but was not enough to bring it over the line and avoid receivership.
Here in Ireland we read more about the benefits of outsourcing in the financial press than keeping jobs here. The Germans on the other hand have more interest and affection for their strategic industries.
The government has given massive tax breaks for hotel construction in the tourism industry, golf courses and new ventures like the Jeanie Johnston and various visitor centres also got massive support, running to tens of millions in total. We can recall some that failed like Celtworld.
Here is a facility that could be purchased by the state that would guarantee huge numbers of tourists and leased back to the private investors like KPS and safeguard such a facility for future generations.
A certain level of production could also be maintained at a competitive level so that a living factory is there for visitors to see in action. The Bavarian ambition for Rosenthal is similar.
Keeping tourism and the maximum number of crystal jobs is an objective worth pursuing. The tourism industry in the south east needs it as does the country as a whole.
The receiver will get good funds in the German and Irish case for the banks that he acts for and go for the greater good.
Over in England, there will be demands to save what is left of Wedgwood also
and not have the product all made in the Far East.
The Irish, Germans and British may have some realistic objectives that can be realised and are well worth exploring.
MEPS point out that there is a ban on state aids, but that did not stop the Italian government assisting Al Italia or Fiat when necessary.
Buying the asset as an investment in the public capital programme could make sense to safeguard tourism interests. Minister Martin Cullen would be supportive of it. What about the rest of the Cabinet and the Finance Minister?
The last time a state guarantee was sought it was refused, now with a purchase of property it could be different, giving a return to the government and also the new investors.
We would like to get some reader views on the matter via e mail or letter. Our politicians should be supportive of such a measure, as they are in faraway Germany for Rosenthal.