I am writing on behalf of my sister Sarah and myself to thank members of the public and media for showing such an outpouring of support to the Vita Cortex workers. My dad Henry O Reilly has worked there for 40 years. I live in New York so it’s particularly painful to see my dad put in this position when I’m so far away. The story is gaining momentum in the U.S. also as Irish people here share the story and that gives me strength. During his 40 years of service, I saw my father bend over backwards for Vita Cortex and Sean McHenry, going above and beyond what was expected of him to support the company. That’s the type of person my dad is, he was either at work or at home taking care of us and he was happy doing that day in day out with no concern for himself. To see him now older, suffering with severe arthritis and being cast aside by Vita Cortex when he was no longer needed in the Jack Ronan empire is more than any of us can bear. We must bear it though to support him and the other workers as long as it takes until they receive what they are entitled too.
We are expected to accept that owner Jack Ronan is unable to pay these workers, however it doesn’t take much investigating to see that indeed Mr. Ronan is doing quite well with numerous ventures and assets and simply doesn’t feel it necessary to pay innocent hard working people who helped keep his business running. Nama are citing technicalities such as sister companies in Dublin or Athlone being separate entities but in my opinion complicated webs of paperwork and abuses of company law have turned profits in to untouchable shadows and Mr. Ronan knows that, because Mr. Ronan planned that. In the last few days Mr. Ronan has emerged from the shadows he has lurked in since December 16th, his PR machine trying to damage control by saying that the bad publicity the former workers in Cork are causing for the company will result in job losses in Athlone and Belfast. Mr. Ronan is portraying himself as a man deeply saddened but we are not fooled. Mr. Ronan and Mr. McHenry are very wealthy men. They may try to convince themselves that living in luxury, while people who grafted for you for 4 decades are left with nothing, is perfectly acceptable as long as you hide behind the veil of company law but the ordinary people who have stood up in their tens of thousands to support my dad and his workmates will not. Mr. Ronan’s PR people will not convince them or us that we will be the cause of jobs in other plants. Mr. Ronan has proved he will cast aside everyone eventually to add to his empire. The ordinary, honest people of Ireland see that.
In the last 48 hours we have seen Mr. Ronan give his side of the story. We can really only see one side to this story however which is that employees did their service and their company is doing whatever it can to avoid paying them in a shameful way and in a last gutless, PR constructed move are trying to turn it on the workers themselves. To sign off I just want to say to the Vita Cortex workers you have our unending support, and you are an inspiration to every employee in Ireland and the world to hold. You are holding your former employers to a standard our country can be proud of and, if Ireland is still the fair and just country we all love, you should have the full backing of government. Lastly I love you dad. You make me proud every day.
Dont forget that the Vita Cortex workers will appear on tonight’s Late Late Show. RTE One @9.35pm. Please tune-in and support.