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25 May 2022

Jobs coming to Laois as big engineering firm picks Portlaoise for major investment

Limerick firm buying prime site in Portlaoise

Jobs coming to Laois as big engineering firm picks Portlaoise for major investment

An Irish engineering firm that specialises in data centre development has got the green light for a €1 million land deal with Laois County Council to develop a big manufacturing and training facility on a prime site in Portlaoise.

Kirby Group Engineering, which had a €400 million turnover in 2021, 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.

The Limerick headquartered firm provides full mechanical and electrical contracting services as well as specialist high voltage (HV) and medium voltage (MV) 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 to 3.42 hectares of serviced land at the J17 National Enterprise Park near Portlaoise, beside the M7 motorway. 

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 up to 40,000 sq ft facility they intend to build will be an aesthetically pleasing state of the art facility, with global blue-chip clients can visit. Council management says 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. Kirby intend to showcase this client offering on their own facility with a low carbon footprint design. The project will include a large solar photo voltaic energy source for the facility. 

Kirby plan to apply for planning permission in 2022. The company's board wants to start construction this summer, subject to planning approval.

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. A big Glanbia cheese plant is operational while Aubren is relocating from its IDA base in Portlaoise to the site. A big plastic bottle recycling firm is also setting up in the business park which stretches from Clonminham to lands bordering the M7.

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