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We must unite

Star joins call for future plan
Douglas Beattie, Thursday, February 4th, 2016


Actor James Nesbitt has added his voice to calls for investment and jobs in his home town Ballymena ahead of a rally there this coming Saturday (Feb 6).


Almost 2,000 jobs in the town – with a population of 30,000 – will be lost in the near future after two of the area’s biggest employers – Michelin tyres and JTI Gallaher tobacco – announced plans to close.


In a personal message of support Nesbitt – who found fame in ‘Cold Feet’ – backed the campaign for Investment and Jobs, saying “we have highly-skilled and dedicated workers, great infrastructure, and the heart…..we just need to Unite.”


The star said he “shares the pain of the loss of so many jobs.”


Devastating impact


“While my career has taken me far from home, I’ve always had a great affection for the town and its people,” he said. “The loss of these well-paying and stable jobs not only threatens those affected directly and their families, but will have a devastating impact on the wider economy and community.


“We must seize this moment to show Ballymena and Northern Ireland’s ambition to be a highly sought after centre for international business”


Last month Hollywood star Liam Neeson also backed the campaign saying, “urgent action needs to be taken by the government to focus attention on the devastating loss of employment in our area.


People unite


“I believe that nothing less than the future of Northern Ireland is at stake here. Unite, people, elected Ministers and political leaders: UNITE!”


Neeson has now recorded a video message calling on people to attend the rally in the town, proclaiming himself “a proud Ballymena man.”


Unite secretary for Ireland Jimmy Kelly welcomed the support for the demand for investment and jobs saying, “the Rally For A Future campaign was launched by workers in Michelin and JTI-Gallaher factories who faced redundancy when it was announced that their factories would close.


Secure investment


“They chose not to be bystanders to that fate but to do campaign to demand real action for secure investment and jobs for their town and to safeguard a better future,” he noted.


“Their initiative has been met with widespread enthusiasm and support from across the community.


Strongest message


“It is clear that Rally For A Future continues to gather momentum as we move towards Saturday,” Kelly added. “It is vital that everyone in the local community makes the effort to join with us in sending the strongest possible message to our political leaders.”



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