Limerick councillors agree to facilitate expansion plans for mask manufacturer

Nick Rabbitts

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Nick Rabbitts

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nick@limerickleader.ie

Limerick company continue to produce four million face masks each week

Irema is based in Kilmallock Business Park

ONE of the few companies to see growth in the Covid-19 pandemic is set to expand even further.

Irema, based in the Kilmallock Business Park, produces surgical masks and other personal protective equipment.

Since the onset of the lockdown, it’s been able to grow its staff numbers from 45 to almost 200 as demand for these goods has exploded.

Now, in a move which local councillor, and Irema employee PJ Carey says will “copper-fasten” these roles, it’s been agreed to sell a further patch of land in the business park to the company.

At a special meeting of the Cappamore/Kilmallock district in the Limerick Racecourse this week, members unanimously rubber-stamped the sale of 0.56 acres to Irema, which will now seek planning permission to expand.

It’s anticipated the company will apply for permission to add a third loading bay into the factory.​

Speaking immediately after the move, Cllr Carey said: “We have four times the product going out, and as a result, have four times the amount of material coming in. We are a little bit caught for space. So I’d hope this disposal of land will help us, and copper-fastens the jobs.”

He praised the chief executive of Irema, John Rice, who welcomed Independent TD Richard O’Donoghue to the factory this week.

Cllr Carey, a non-party member who has worked in Irema for the past five years, said: “My boss is from Kerry and I guess he owes Kilmallock nothing. He could easily bring his machines down to Kerry. I’m sure the Healy-Raes would welcome him with open arms. But this is a commitment from him as well.”

Cllr Carey paid tribute to Limerick City and County Council, in particular Sean Coughlan and Tina Knox who worked to get the disposal over the line, as production in Irema continued to ramp up.

“As a councillor myself I am passionate about Kilmallock. I am very proud standing here today happy in the knowledge that this is the start of real jobs for my area. I would also like to challenge Limerick City and County Council to watch this space. I welcome the new Training Centre for Limerick Fire and Rescue and I will be looking for more enterprise to start in the area,” he said.

At the start of the pandemic, Irema enhanced its production to deliver more than one million masks a week.

It was founded in Kilmallock in 1985.

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