Sinn Fein at odds over Target closure

Published: 30 Aug 2012 16:53

THERE appears to be a split in Sinn Fein following the news that one of Ireland's leading haulage firms, Target Express has ceased trading resulting in almost 400 jobs being lost with around 50 of those in the Lisnaskea depot.

A number of the company's lorries were seized from the Newtownbutler yard today (Thursday). Photo by John McVitty.

The freight company which was based in the South Fermanagh/Clones area ceased trading following attachments placed on their parent company College Freight by the Revenue Commissioners last Friday.

Target Express (Ireland) is owned principally by Derrylin native Seamus Mc Brien and his family who started the company in 1988. Apart from bases in Fermanagh and Monaghan, they also have major depots in Dublin, Limerick and in England.

Sinn Fein MLA for Fermanagh and South Tyrone Phil Flanagan took to Twitter to express his shock following the announcement while his assembly colleague, Sean Lynch released a statement calling the news "a major blow".

"It is particularly shocking if newspaper reports are true that the Revenue Commissioners in the 26-Counties have refused to compromise or reach an agreement with the company to try and avoid the job losses."

Mr. Lynch said the Revenue Commissioners should have taken a more "sympathetic approach" to Seamus McBrien's company as it was the largest privately owned haulage company in Ireland.

In the Republic, the party's southern counterparts have a different view.

Chris O'Leary, a Sinn Fein councillor in Cork, said: "Blaming someone else, in this case revenue is an easy option".

He accused Mr. McBrien of trying to 'do a Quinn', adding: "But the problem is that he's not Quinn".

"A lot of questions are still unanswered. How can you give people cheques that bounce, how can you allow your staff to fill up company trucks with diesel out of their own pocket and not get paid, I would describe this as reckless," he said.

Meanwhile, a number of the company's lorries were seized from the Newtownbutler yard today (Thursday).

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