SINN Fein’s newspaper An Phoblacht has consistently and strongly criticised Coca Cola’s human rights record, and many Sinn Fein members have supported a call by the republican paper to boycott the soft drink. But what would have happened if the boycott had been successful? Sinn Fein Councillor Michael Ferguson provides an insight below.As Coca Cola reveals that it is to rationalise operations in Ireland (that is, close one of the two plants, one of which is at Lambeg, Lisburn), Councillor Ferguson told the Irish News (subs needed):
“The closure of this plant would have an enormous impact across my constituency,” he said.
“Unemployment levels are already high and the loss of 500 jobs would only compound the situation.”
Mr Ferguson said that if a rescue package for the plant could not be found, he would be urging Coca-Cola to site their new Irish headquarters “as close as possible” to Lambeg.
While it would be hard to criticise an elected representative for standing by his constituents at a time of potential employment crisis, it makes Sinn Fein’s support for a boycott of Coca Cola look very silly indeed. Maybe the party is looking for another hefty donation from the company?
But if the boycott had actually been successful, surely the Coca Cola plant closure would have been acceptable, nay, desirable?
And if Cllr Ferguson is determined to seek a rescue package for the Lambeg plant, I have no doubt he will be working to ensure it isn’t one of those nasty ‘cut and run’ financial packages he has been rightly critical of in the past.