A Christmas mass was held this morning for 32 former workers at the Vita Cortex plant in Cork who are staging a sit-in protest.

The company, which manufactures foam packaging, closed its plant on the Kinsale Road last week.

Yesterday, SIPTU President Jack O'Connor visited the plant, as did Cork senior hurling manager Jimmy Barry Murphy.

A spokesperson for the workers this morning said that morale was high, and that the response they are getting from people to their protest was unbelievable.

The group has organised a rota to allow people to take it in turns to go home for a couple of hours today, to spend time with children and have Christmas dinner with their families.

A local taxi firm offered its services for free to bring workers to and from the plant today.

It is understood a local hotel also offered to provide Christmas dinner for the group. However, it is not thought that this will be taken up, as people will be able to get home for a time to have dinner with their families.

The spokesperson said there are usually between 10 and 12 workers on the premises at any given time.

The spokesperson said 12 of the staff who had been let go had given over 40 years of service to the company.

Workers say they have no intention of giving up their protest, and that they are willing to stay there for the long haul.