Some of the 300 workers made redundant by the closure of the Castlemahon Food Products poultry plant in County Limerick have been picketing the local Tesco and are threatening to scale up protests.

They want Tesco, one of Castlemahon's largest customers, to put pressure on the parent company, the O'Kane Group in Ballymena, Co. Antrim, to increase the redundancy offer.

Castlemahon supplied both Dunnes and Tesco with fresh and cooked chicken. Its closure has been blamed on cheap imports and high wage costs and is a serious blow to the local economy. Some 100 large poultry farmers and 600 workers are affected. Senator Michael Finnucane told Tesco it has a responsibility to use its influence. "Otherwise protests are certain to be extended, and Tesco will feel a backlash."

A spokesman for the multiple said it would not intervene.

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