An Enniskillen councillor has said he will be switching providers as BT announced it would close its contact centre in Enniskillen later this year.

Alliace Councillor Eddie Roofe made the remarks on social media following the announcement, and indicated he would not be alone in switching providers.

In a statement, he said: “This is a sad day for Enniskillen and my first thoughts are with all the staff at the centre, who did not deserve this outcome after their long and distinguished service, as well as their recent fight for jobs,” he said.

“I had hoped BT would come to its senses but unfortunately it became clear from early on even with potential financial incentives, as a company it had made up its mind in terms of their local presence.”

Economy Minister Deirdre Hargey has expressed her disappointment at the announcement.

Ms Hargey said: “As a major employer in the region for over three decades, this decision is devastating for the workers and their families, and also for the wider community.”

Adam Gannon, SDLP, said:  “It is deeply disappointing that despite sustained calls to retain employment at this site, the company has refused to listen to people here. The SDLP will do whatever we can to support the individuals and families affected in the time ahead.”

The Fermanagh and South Tyrone Ulster Unionist Association hit out at a “deliberate ambiguous exercise” carried out by BT/EE.

“Our MLA Tom Elliott had been lobbying the then Economy Minister Conor Murphy to step up and provide support to the Enniskillen site.

They said: “This decision follows what we suggest was a deliberate ambiguous exercise that BT/EE carried out with the workers, elected representatives and department officials that was deeply frustrating about the future of Enniskillen”.

DUP MLA for Fermanagh South Tyrone, Deborah Erskine said staff who did not sign up for the voluntary paid leaver scheme have been given the option of moving to another location but this is not feasible for many of the staff.

She said: “Whilst the company are not being definitive, there appears to be no likelihood that the jobs in question will remain after the required consultation. 

"The company has previously been warned about the reputational damage they could suffer as a result of how this has been handled, so it is incumbent upon them to ensure that the terms of redundancies put in place treat staff fairly.”

 Sinn Féin MLA Áine Murphy described the closure of the site as “a huge blow to local workers and families."

  The Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA said: “I want to highlight the blatant unwillingness by EE / BT to work with the Department for Economy and Invest NI to identify an alternative option to closure.

“Invest NI has previously offered to support EE / BT in order to retain jobs at the site which unfortunately was rejected.”

Councillor Thomas O’Reilly, chairman of Fermanagh and Omagh District Council said: “This announcement comes after weeks of uncertainty and distress for BT/EE employees and will be very upsetting for those affected."

Yesterday he met with the interim Economy Minister, Deirdre Hargey, to reiterate "the Council's concerns in relation to the historical underinvestment in the district".

“The Council will seek to ensure that suitable support is provided to those employees affected by job losses”