Port people do IDA’s work

New jobs could be on the way in Portarlington, as local interest grows in a massive €1.5m empty factory for sale at Botley Lane.

New jobs could be on the way in Portarlington, as local interest grows in a massive €1.5m empty factory for sale at Botley Lane.

The vast plant is virtually brand new and is one of the many examples of up-to-date industrial units in Laois which have been ignored by the IDA but local people believe the premises can be put to use to create jobs. A local businessman is doing the IDA’s work by showing a US company around the plant last week.

Port’s Vision 2020, a voluntary group who recently launched plans for job creation, is eyeing the 5 acre site as a potential nursery for up to thirty small businesses.

Colm Powell, MD of Polar Ice, is one of the business people involved in the 20/20 group, He and other 20-20 members met politicians during a visit to the factory last week.

“We are trying to look at possible location sites in Port, either for one off businesses or for incubation, as could be here. They could share equipment like lathes, milling machines or racking systems, and secretarial or security costs,” said Mr Powell told the Leinster Express.

The Port’s Vision group have some welcome competition however, according to Mr Powell.

“There is other interest in purchasing the building. We can look at the Avon plant too, but there would be renovation costs associated with that. This is more open plan,” said Mr Powell, who had invited one of his suppliers to the viewing.

Dan Rosewald is Vice President of Atlanta company CO2 Air Inc, which manufacture dry ice machines but the company has European base. He was so impressed with the Port’s Vision 2020 brochure that he is bringing it back to the US to show to other companies.

“We have a lot of big companies that are looking at going out to Europe, but are frightened. I speak to a lot of them, and I will be bringing this up” he said.

Fianna Fail Deputy Barry Cowen, TD was delighted to hear of the interest in the empty building, which is on the Offaly side of Port.

“I am glad to see in straitened times a bit of initiative within the community. I want to pay tribute to local groups such as these. It’s good to see co-operation by both local authorities. My ambition is to make sure no doors are closed, and the people in authority do their jobs,” said Dep Cowen.

Seamus Kehoe is on the steering committee of Port’s Vision 2020.

“The whole thing is to integrate the county councils (Laois and Offaly) to help build local businesses, new or established, in co-operation with the local enterprise centre,” he said.

Auctioneers DTZ Sherry Fitzgerald said a manufacturing company in Port are interested in buying the factory, which is being sold by a receiver appointed by ACC Bank.

It was built five years ago for a prefab construction company, M2, who closed within a short time. It has warehouse space of 52,000 sq ft and open plan offices alongside of 8,000 sq ft, on a 5 acre site.