Belfast Telegraph

Pitch perfect performance by firm's anti-crush barrier

A Northern Ireland company has developed new anti-crush barriers to improve safety for spectators at sports venues.

Rogers Fencing in Draperstown, Co Londonderry, has developed a unique system of gated steel barriers which can open in seconds in the event of a pitch invasion by sports fans.

The innovative system was used for the first time at the recent GAA All-Ireland Football Final between Down and Cork at the stadium's Hill 16 terrace.

The company, a market leader in the design, manufacture and installation of fencing for a range of commercial, industrial and sports applications, was assisted by Invest NI.

Cathal Rogers, managing director of Rogers Fencing, said: "We've been working with the GAA for a number of years on ground safety systems and were asked to come up with a system that would prevent pitch invasions, which can damage the playing surface, without creating additional crush risks.

"Our experienced design team came up with a solution based on a series of gates which could be opened in a matter of a few seconds to counter any crush problems.

"It proved to be an outstanding success," he said.

The 3.7 metre-high gated barrier was designed by the team in four days in consultation with the GAA at Croke Park and manufactured at Draperstown.

The company is also developing a retractable system which can be raised quickly to prevent pitch invasions.

Des Gartland, Invest NI's North West regional office manager, said: "This is an entrepreneurial business with substantial potential particularly in markets outside Northern Ireland."