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February 22, 1993


By CBR Staff Writer

Some 2,500 people in Scotland and Ireland were waiting anxiously yesterday to hear on which side of the Irish sea the boom would fall. Digital Equipment Corp has reportedly decided that it must close either its plant in Galway or its operations in Ayr – and logic dictates that the victim must be Galway, although the Irish government is fighting a vigorous rearguard action to try to persuade DEC to reprieve the venerable plant, which directly and indirectly accounts for 25% of the employment in the town in the far west of Ireland. The Galway plant build mid-range and high-end VAXes for Europe, employing 1,100 full-time and 200 part-time people, some of whom are also involved in research and development and software design. In Scotland, DEC has a new wafer fabrication unit in South Queensferry, Edinburgh, now making Alphas and other components for Alpha AXP machines – the wafers are shipped up to Ayr for packaging, and building into machines. It employs 1,000 people. Irish ministers made allegations on BBC radio that the UK government has promised DEC a UKP400m defence contract as an inducement to keep the Ayr plant open, but on logic and logistics, it seems clear that, with the chips being made a few miles across the country, and the new generation of machines already in at Ayr, while Galway is still making the previous generation, if one of the plants has to go, Galway is the one to draw the short straw.

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