Leslie Morrison, chief executive of Invest Northern Ireland, today welcomed a £1.7 million expansion by O’Neills Irish International Sportswear Company Ltd.
Mr Morrison was speaking during a visit to the firm’s Strabane site where he met with Kieran Kennedy, O’Neills managing director.
O’Neills produces and sells a range of high-quality sports, leisure, school and corporate wear with particular focus on the GAA sports clothing market. The £1.7 million investment has created 50 new jobs – bringing employment to 265 – and will strengthen the O’Neills brand in existing markets, whilst enabling the company to expand into new sports markets.
As part of the investment, O’Neills has moved the production of knitted fabrics to a new 60,000sq ft site, adjacent to its current Strabane factory. The company is also in the process of developing a dedicated warehousing facility which will maximise supply chain efficiency.
Welcoming the announcement, Leslie Morrison said: “This investment will maximise the potential of the local textiles industry by providing O’Neills with an opportunity to establish and build its brand in international sports goods markets.
“By focusing on export markets, local companies can create greater wealth for the community and new employment opportunities - a key component of Invest NI’s North West Action Plan. This aims to transform the North West economy by encouraging innovation, internationalisation and entrepreneurship.”
“Strabane, in particular, has benefited from significant new investment. 68 new businesses have been supported in Strabane since April 2004 - 11% of the total in the North West - and increasing numbers of companies are seeking R&D assistance as an enabler of commercial success in global markets.”
Kieran Kennedy, O’Neills, added: “Over the past number of years, we have implemented a number of commercial strategies to build brand awareness and accelerate growth.
“This investment will help us centralise our warehousing facilities and implement a complete materials resource planning (MRP) system to increase production and delivery efficiency. In addition, a more diverse product range, online sales and expansion of the current retail outlet will assist in building and maintaining a competitive advantage in new and international markets.”