A BUS-BUILDING firm in Ireland which went into administration last week funded an Evangelical church by an estimated £17 million, in the seven years leading to the firm’s collapse and the loss of 1250 jobs.
On Sunday, angry workers at the Wrightbus factory in Ballymena, Co. Antrim, picketed the Green Pastures “people’s church”. Its chief pastor is Jeff Wright, the son of the company’s founder, William Wright, now aged 92, who set up the Wrightbus company in 1946.
Workers who picketed the church expressed anger that money generated by the bus-building enterprise, which exported to many countries, was given to the church rather than reinvested in the company. Others said that prayer meetings took place in the workshops, and employees were encouraged to donate to Green Pastures directly from their wages.
It is estimated that as many as 3000 more jobs could be in danger in the supply chain as a result of the failure of Wrightbus.
The “Boris bus” used during the 2016 EU referendum was built at the plant.
A statement issued on behalf of the church expressed regret at the closure of Wrightbus, and acknowledged with gratitude the financial support that it had received from the company.
It is understood that there are two prospective buyers for the firm.