Belfast Telegraph

Rivers Agency gives £2m boost to Tyrone building firm QMAC Construction

A Co Tyrone building firm has landed a "considerable" £2m construction contract to build the new headquarters of the Rivers Agency.

QMAC Construction Ltd - which is based in Dungannon - has been awarded the contract to build the new offices at Loughry Campus in Cookstown.

It's the latest step in relocating the Rivers Agency from Belfast to Cookstown.

And QMAC Construction's managing director, Eddie O'Neill, said the job could lead to additional staff being added to the firm's workforce.

"We are very pleased to get the job. We are a local contractor and the job is also local to us," he said.

"It will help us keep people in work and maybe might add a job or two.

"It's a job we are very pleased to get because of the area, and it fits into the profile of the company."

Mr O'Neill said that aside from the construction work - due to begin in September - the firm will also appoint its own design team.

"It's a considerable job in terms of our overall turnover, and quite considerable in regards to our growth plans, and helps in job creation."

Construction will take approximately 13 months and Rivers Agency staff should be ready to move into their new building at the end of the summer next year.

QMAC currently employs around 50 staff as well as other workers through sub-contracts.

Mr O'Neill said his firm has managed to keep afloat and remain successful in a marketplace which is "still extremely tight".

He added: "We have been reasonably successful because of our varied portfolio. Our success is also down to good people, and bringing in new people - that has helped us win in a variety of sectors.

"We do quite a bit of public sector work, and indirectly through council work and community projects."

The firm is also behind conservation work on Enniskillen Castle, which includes a new visitors' centre.

Welcoming the Rivers Agency contract, Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill said: "This new building represents a significant financial investment of £2m in the Cookstown area by my department and will see the relocation of up to 85 public sector jobs to a rural setting.

"The award of this contract is a significant milestone in the Rivers Agency relocation project and the wider DARD programme to redistribute public sector jobs across the north.

"The wider programme, which recently saw the relocation of the fisheries division to Downpatrick, will see the forest service move to Enniskillen before the end of this year and the rest of my department relocating to Ballykelly in two phases, in 2017 and 2020."

In April, the minister revealed that more than 1,500 civil servants want to move to the new Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) headquarters in the North West.

Michelle O'Neill confirmed that officials had submitted the plans for development of the Ballykelly site for approval to the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council.


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