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Knitwear company closes

News
Castlebar knitwear company closes

MICHAEL DUFFY


A well-known Castlebar knitwear company is to close its doors after 25 years in business. The Managing Director stated that the business had found it ‘simply impossible’ to continue due to rising costs.
As a result of the closure, the current eleven full-time staff will receive redundancies when the plant, located on the Pontoon Road in Castlebar, closes its doors for good in March. At its peak, the company employed 30 staff.
Mr Vincent O’Neill, who has been Managing Director of Heritage Knitwear for the past eight years, said it was a ‘very tough decision to take’ to close the company.
“The main reason for our closure is quite simple – it has become too expensive to manufacture our product in this country,” he said. “The costs are just too high (the costs being labour costs and other various overheads). The only solution which other knitwear producers are choosing is to source the material needed overseas in places like Eastern Europe and China,” stated Mr O’Neill, who admitted that closing the business was a ‘horrible decision’ to have to make.
“It was a double-edged sword in our case because our own home market has also become flooded by imported competition and we were been undercut in our export market. It is a sad day and I’m very sorry to see the business go.”
Mayor of Castlebar, Mr Brendan Henaghan, said he was disappointed to hear that Heritage Knitwear was closing.
“It’s sad to see another small business in Castlebar shutting it’s doors, with the lost of more valuable jobs,” said the Mayor. “While the town has been expanding rapidly, a lot of the smaller manufacturing businesses have found it hard to operate and the issue of costs is currently a very real one for all manufacturing companies. I would like to wish Mr O’Neill and his staff well.”
Cllr Henaghan added that something had to be done to protect smaller businesses in the county town.
“We have to be able to cater for both small and large businesses and it is a challenge to be faced by both the Council and the Chamber of Commerce.”