New Food Business in Newtownhamilton Backed by Invest Northern Ireland

Invest Northern Ireland Chief Executive Alastair Hamilton today announced a £206,000 investment by O’Neill Mushrooms in Newtownhamilton, County Armagh.

The company has an existing business in Carrickmacross, County Monaghan which was established in 2003 by Michael O’Neill, a businessman with vast experience in the industry. The new Northern Ireland facility will develop added-value products for export.

O’Neill Mushrooms has invested extensively in its growing and processing facilities in Newtownhamilton and is already producing almost 80,000 fresh mushrooms a week. The site has 20 fully equipped state-of the-art growing rooms with computerised controls and a high humidity cold room. Together, the Carrickmacross and Newtownhamilton operations produce almost 30,000 lbs of fresh mushrooms every week for the retail, catering and wholesale sectors in the UK and Ireland.

Alastair Hamilton said: “This investment is an immensely important development in a rural community and will focus on the manufacture of added-value products for retailers outside Northern Ireland. The new facility has been developed in response to strong growth in the demand for O’Neill Mushrooms quality and innovative products, particularly from Great Britain, where the retail market is currently worth around £350 million.

“The decision to locate this business in Newtownhamilton is another significant endorsement of Northern Ireland as an ideal location for food processing businesses dedicated to building export sales. The investment has already created 60 new jobs in recent months with a further 10 expected by 2013.”

Mr O’Neill, commenting on the investment, said: “Newtownhamilton was an obvious choice of location for us. There is a strong heritage of mushroom growing and processing in the area, a readily available and experienced workforce, and a ready-made plant previously operated by Monaghan Mushrooms. These factors enabled us to ‘hit the ground running’ and to start supplying customers quickly.

“In a fast moving market it’s crucially important to have resources available to meet an increase in demand. Newtownhamilton enabled us to achieve this and also provides us with the necessary scope to develop the new products that I have in mind. Invest NI responded quickly and positively when I detailed my business strategy. The support provided has enabled me to move ahead quickly in terms of facilities and marketing activities.”