Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 21 August 2014

O'Neill's on the ball with 60 jobs

Tyrone player Sean Cavanagh at Moy GAA
Tyrone player Sean Cavanagh at Moy GAA

A total of 60 jobs have been created in the employment blackspot of Strabane with a £3m investment from a well-known sports clothing company which aims to increase sales by 40%.

O'Neill's was founded in 1918 and will mark its 40th year in Strabane this year.

The business designs, manufactures and sells sports and leisure-wear and while it is best known for GAA clothing, the company recently diversified into multiple sports, including rugby union, rugby league and cricket, and has also started to manufacture accessories including hurling helmets and hurling ball cores.

The company occupies a 150,000 sq ft manufacturing premises on a 12-acre site in the town and is one of the last large-scale textile manufacturers in Northern Ireland.

The £3m investment will fund capital equipment, ICT and facilities to expand its operations and will bring the total employed in the company to over 400.

Invest NI has offered support of £322,168 towards the company's total investment of £2,949,005.

Kieran Kennedy, managing director of O'Neill's, said the resultant increase in manufacturing capacity would give the firm competitive advantage against global competitors.

"We're also developing our e-commerce capability to boost our online sales," he said.

Alastair Hamilton, chief executive of Invest Northern Ireland, said that despite the challenges faced by the textiles sector over the last decade, O'Neill's had a proven track record in delivering growth.

"This is in large part to its willingness to innovate, diversify and seek new markets," he said.

PROFILE

O'Neill's designs, manufactures and sells sports and leisure wear and while it is best known for GAA clothing, the company recently diversified into multiple sports and has also started to manufacture accessories including hurling helmets and hurling ball cores.

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