A decision by Coca-Cola to close one of its three plants in the Irish Republic, with the loss of more than 250 jobs, has provoked angry protests from councillors and trade union leaders.

The plant is the main source of employment in Drogheda, County Louth, where it has operated for more than 30 years. It is being closed "for reasons of efficiency rather than falling demand", with production transferred to two newer plants in Counties Mayo and Kildare.

"We'll be making the same volume in two plants instead of three," said a spokesman.

The company has promised "a generous redundancy package", plus jobs for 90 workers willing to move to the other plants next September. But the offer has failed to soothe local anger. One union leader called the decision "an illustration of corporate greed at its worst". The plant was highly profitable, he said, and had not lost a day of production in disputes for more than a decade.

At a meeting of Drogheda Town Council, the closure was described as a body blow that would affect every family in the town and remove some €25m in wages from the local economy. The council agreed that, if necessary, it would send a delegation to Coca-Cola HQ in Atlanta to protest.