The construction industry is set for a boost today when Queen's University reveals the main contractor for a new £32m centre for experimental medicine.
Newry firm O'Hare & McGovern's big contract win will see around 400 people building the centre on the university's health sciences campus on Jubilee Road, Belfast.
The centre, which is funded by grants and donations, is set to employ 330 people – including 110 new staff – when it's scheduled to finish in two years' time.
Eamon O'Hare, managing director of O'Hare & McGovern, said: "The construction industry is currently a very difficult sector to be operating in.
"We are delighted to have been awarded this contract to continue our longstanding relationship with Queen's.
"The new centre will offer world-class facilities for the university with exceptional design, construction and engineering.
"This announcement will help to secure jobs and offers an impetus to the local construction industry."
The Newry company also built Queen's McClay library, which opened in 2010.
John Armstrong, managing director of industry body the Construction Employers Federation (CEF), said: "With construction output in Northern Ireland now at its lowest point since the turn of the century, this £32m investment is a welcome boost to the local industry.
"Queen's University is a highly regarded construction client and it provides a great example for how public sector funding can be used to lever in additional private funding.
"Pound for pound the social and economic benefit to be gained from this sort of investment is hard to rival."
Staff at the centre will research cures for eye disease and diabetes, as well as aiming to improve their understanding of other complex chronic diseases.
The four-storey building will be close to the existing centre for cancer research and cell biology.
Gary Jebb, Queen's director of estates, said: "In the last year, the university has invested over £35m in building projects, creating over 700 construction-related jobs in the local economy, and we are proud that today's announcement reinforces Queen's continuing commitment to supporting the Northern Ireland economy and especially the local construction sector."