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Kingspan: Michael Gove sends letter to Ulster Rugby asking it to consider links with firm over Grenfell tragedy

Irish company has insisted it had no role in the design of the tower’s cladding system

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Kingspan is Ulster's primary shirt sponsor and hold naming rights to the team’s Ravenhill stadium.

Kingspan is Ulster's primary shirt sponsor and hold naming rights to the team’s Ravenhill stadium.

©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Kingspan is Ulster's primary shirt sponsor and hold naming rights to the team’s Ravenhill stadium.

Cabinet Minister Michael Gove has written to Ulster Rugby asking it to consider its relationship with Kingspan over the firm's role in the Grenfell Tower fire.

The Irish company is Ulster's primary shirt sponsor and hold naming rights to the team’s Ravenhill stadium.

Ulster Rugby has confirmed that its Chief Executive Officer Jonny Petrie received a letter from Mr Gove, the BBC has reported.

The Grenfell Inquiry has heard evidence criticising its business practices.

Kingspan has said that its K15 insulation made up only 5% of the insulation in the block and was used without its recommendation. It has also stressed it had no role in the design of the cladding system.

It added the exterior cladding, which it did not manufacture, was deemed by the inquiry to be the "principal reason" for how quickly the fire spread.

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The Mercedes Formula 1 team recently ended a sponsorship deal with Kingspan after the Grenfell United victims and survivors group criticised the arrangement.

Grenfell United subsequently wrote to Ulster Rugby asking the club to reconsider its Kingspan deal.

Ulster said it would not be making any comment whilst the inquiry is ongoing.

In his letter, Mr Gove, the housing minister, said: "I would like you to consider the evidence that has been presented to the the inquiry before deciding whether continuing with this arrangement is consistent with the values of your club.

"I do not believe that the public across these islands will feel that it is right that a community club should risk its reputation by partnering with a company whose practices have been so seriously called into question."

The inquiry has heard evidence that Kingspan misleadingly marketed K15 as being generally suitable for use on high rise buildings when it had only been approved for use as part of a specific cladding set-up.

The public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire is currently examining how the building was covered in flammable materials, which contributed to the spread of flames that took hold of the tower in June 2017, killing 72 people.

"The information contained within will be considered as part of an existing active review, and we won't be making any further comment at this time," the spokesperson added.

Previously Kingspan has said: "The Grenfell Tower fire was a tragedy that should never have happened, and Kingspan supports the vitally important work of the inquiry to determine what went wrong and why.

"Kingspan played no role in the design of the cladding system on Grenfell Tower, where its K15 product constituted approximately 5% of the insulation and was used as a substitute product without Kingspan's knowledge in a system that was not compliant with the buildings regulations."

Kingspan is headquartered in County Cavan and employs up to 15,000 people across its global operations.

It also sponsors Breffni Park, the home of Cavan GAA.


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