05 Jul 2022

Plans launched for high-tech engineering hub in Portlaoise

Plans launched for high-tech engineering hub in Portlaoise

A major Irish engineering firm that specialises in data centre development has launched its plans for the development of a major hub in Laois which will see Portlaoise becoming a key centre for the Limerick firm employing 60 jobs in the process.

Kirby Group Engineering, which had a €400 million turnover in 2021,  Kirby Group has put Laois County Council that it intends to apply for planning permission for a light industrial development at the J17 National Enterprise Park in Portlaoise. The firm purchased the site from the local authority earlier in 2022 for more than €1 million.

The company says the development shall have a 3000 m2 footprint and overall floor area of 4550m2 on the land near the Togher M7 roundabout. The development will include roads, and hardstandings and roof mounted solar panels.

The company says the ground floor of the unit will consist of 2250m2 of industrial space containing warehousing and an adjoining manufacturing area complete with an overhead gantry crane.

A three-storey administration block with in-house training facilities, measuring a total floor area of 2300m2 over three floors, is also planned.

Kirby describes itself as a leading mechanical and electrical engineering contractor operating across Ireland, the UK and Europe, and directly employing over 1,200 skilled professionals.

It says it provides full mechanical and electrical contracting services as well as specialist high voltage and medium voltage design and construction services to clients across a number of different sectors including Data Centres, Life Sciences, Industrial, Commercial, and Substations and Renewables.

Laois County Councillors gave council management the green light to sell land 3.42 hectares of serviced land near the M7 motorway to Kirby in early 2022. 

Before giving the goahead at their meeting on Monday, February 28, the councillors were given an outline of what could be on the cards for the site.

"It is the intention of Kirby Group to develop a multi-purpose facility to support and promote the Kirby business Off-site Manufacturing (OSM) offering to their blue-chip clients, in Ireland and across Europe. The purpose of the facility, it is to be an OSM manufacturing and training centre of excellence," it said.

Kirby says it hopes to have 50 people employed by 2024. The list includes apprentices, engineers, electricians, fitters, managers, receptionists.

The councillors were told that the facility they intend to build will be an aesthetically pleasing state of the art facility, with global blue-chip clients can visit. Council management said Kirby intends to do all the groundworks that will facility the plant's growth as business grows. 

Councillors were told that Kirby works with businesses in the data/pharma/life science/medical device sectors . It says the firm helps these companies enhance energy efficiency.

In 2020 Kirby says it delivered a number of hyper-scale data centre projects and reached €293 million annual turnover.

Laois County Council has invested heavily in the National Enterprise Park with companies already setting up there. Just one site remains to be sold.

Their planning application can be viewed by the public at Laois County Council.

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