An iron foundry in Co Offaly is to lay off 32 workers under restructuring proposals. 

Management at EJ, formerly Cavanagh Foundry in Birr, told workers that owing to loss-making activities they propose to reduce the staff from 50 to 18. 

In a statement, the company said the structure of the firm was no longer commercially viable and that manufacturing of iron castings will be moved to its European headquarters in France.

It said: "We greatly appreciate the exemplary service of our employees at Birr and the proposed closure is no reflection on their performance." 

Some workers dealing with sales, marketing, distribution and steel fabrication will be retained. 

The company said it was fully committed to safeguarding the future of its Irish business and "deeply regretted any job losses that may result".

The foundry manufactures a broad range of manhole covers and drainage grates.

Cavanagh Foundries was sold to EJ in 2000 and the company is blaming the collapse of the construction industry for its losses.

EJ said it has commenced a consultation process with its employees.