The managing director of pharmaceutical manufacturing company Roche has said it is engaging with other pharmaceutical companies to find a buyer for its Clarecastle site.

The company announced yesterday that it would be vacating the site, with a wind-down period of three to four years, which would mean the loss of 240 jobs.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Gerry Cahill said the decision was taken as a result of a drop in requirement for the product manufactured by the plant.

He said they would continue to manufacture drugs but in much smaller volumes and therefore a smaller site would be needed.

Mr Cahill said failure to find a buyer would result in the first redundancies being offered next year.

"Failure to find a buyer for the site, I suppose the first redundancies would be some time next year ... the intent of us here really is to find a buyer. That is where all energy and all our activity will be focused for the next six to nine months,” said Mr Cahill.

"And as you can understand, yesterday was a very difficult day for people on site here, so we really are trying to, I suppose, regroup. 

"Nobody from this site was involved in the decision-making process. This is Roche looking forward and trying to match its pipeline with the assets that it currently owns and there is a mismatch unfortunately," Mr Cahill added.

Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune expressed her disappointment at the announcement of job losses and has called on the Department of Education to investigate the feasibility of making an application under the European Globalisation Fund for workers at the plant.

Ms Clune said: "The European Globalisation Adjustment Fund provides support to people losing their jobs as a result of major structural changes in world trade patterns due to globalisation, for example when a large company shuts down or production is moved outside the EU," said Ms Clune.

"The EGF has a maximum annual budget of €150m for the period 2014-2020. It can fund up to 60% of the cost of projects designed to help workers made redundant find another job or set up their own business," she said.