Concern amongst Aughinish workers as shareholder Oleg Deripaska is sanctioned

‘No reason why the plant can’t continue to operate, Department of Business says

Trade unionists representing 450 Aughinish Alumina workers are watching developments after the UK sanctioned Oleg Deripaska, a Russian shareholder in the aluminum refiner.

The British government froze assets of seven oligarchs said to have close ties to the Kremlin, including Mr Deripaska and Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, as civilians and hospitals fell victim to Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Mr Deripaska owns shares in London-listed EN+, owner of Rusal, which in turn owns Aughinish Alumina, one of the midwest’s biggest employers.

Stephen Lavelle, Siptu manufacturing organiser, said the trade union was in contact with management at the Co Limerick refinery.


“We are monitoring the situation closely, we do not believe that there are any implications at this point in time,” Mr Lavelle said.

However, he added that the company’s management would update the union on the situation as it developed.

A Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation spokesman said there was “no reason why the plant can’t continue to operate” and the Government was keen it would do so.

He explained that the Republic does not take unilateral action against Russian individuals or businesses as it implements EU sanctions adopted as part of the union’s foreign and security policy.

"The European Union has not introduced any sanctions targeting Mr Deripaska or his holdings," added the spokesman.

EN+'s chairman, former British cabinet minister, Lord Barker of Battle, resigned his post earlier this week, prompting increased speculation about the Irish refinery and the group.

In 2018 Lord Barker oversaw a restructuring of Mr Deripaska’s stake that allowed EN+ avoid US sanctions imposed to punish Moscow for attempted interference in elections.

In a statement, EN+ said the chairman’s departure did not change this. The restructuring cut Mr Deripaska’s stake, limited his voting rights and indefinitely tied up any dividends he earned from the Aluminium manufacturer.

The British Government also barred UK citizens and businesses from dealings with Mr Deripaska and Mr Abramovich.

Five others on the same sanctions list include Alexei Miller, chief executive of Russian natural gas giant, Gazprom and Igor Sechin, chief executive of the country's State oil company, Rosneft.

The seven men’s wealth totals €18 billion according to a British government statement.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas