AT LEAST ten new jobs are to be created in rural West Limerick after the Government approved grant funding for the construction of a new manufacturing facility in Killeedy.
Worldwide Automation Technical Support (WATS) Ltd is set to receive €200,000 in start-up funding from West Limerick Resources (WLR) for a new facility near the existing Killeedy enterprise centre.
When it is operational, the plant will manufacture machines for removing hazardous material from recycled LCD televisions.
The technology has been designed by ALR Innovations, a start-up company from the University of Limerick which is now hoping to distribute the machinery worldwide.
Paul Collins of WATS Ltd said that the company has the potential to grow and create more new jobs in the long term.
“This is only at the very start, but its potential is very big. These machines are highly specialised, and we’d be looking at an international market”.
Mr Collins said that once the facility is built, on-the-job training will be provided to all new workers, the majority of whom will be recruited from within the local community.
Shay Riordan, chief executive of WLR, said that the €200,000 funding from the rural development programme is likely to be confirmed shortly, after the plans received the green light from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government.
“From our point of view, it is really great to see manufacturing investment coming into a rural area, where we’ve been working hard to soften the blow of the closure of the old chicken processing plant”, Mr Riordan said, adding that WLR is particularly impressed by the potential for “significant” jobs growth in the future.
In December 2011, ALR Innovations was named as one of the major winners at the Island Seedcorn Business Competition, and received a prize of €100,000.
The approval of grant funding for the Killeedy plant has been welcomed by local politicians. Fine Gael TD Dan Neville said he was “delighted” that the rural development programme was funding an “innovative and environmentally friendly micro-enterprise in West Limerick”.
“It is the entrepreneurial spirit displayed by enterprises like WATS Ltd that will support Ireland’s recovery process going forward”.
Patrick O’Donovan TD said that the ALR technology which will be manufactured in Killeedy “is the first of its kind in the world”, and that the start-up funding “is very much welcome”.