Northern Ireland economy minister Diane Dodds and health minister Robin Swann recently visited Denroy, a firm based in Bangor, County Down, to welcome the creation of 130 new jobs and a PPE contract with Health and Social Care Northern Ireland [HSCNI] worth £19.5 million.
This major new contract will see Denroy manufacture and supply FFP3 masks to the Health and Social Care sector in Northern Ireland from its new production facility in Bangor.
To support Denroy in delivering the contract, Invest Northern Ireland has offered the company £1.5 million of support towards 130 jobs.
Making the joint announcement, NI economy minister Diane Dodds said: “Over the last fifty years, the Denroy Group has become synonymous with innovation through its cutting-edge product development and manufacturing of specialist aerospace components and award-winning hair products.
“Due to Covid-19 there has been an unprecedented global demand for PPE. Very early on in the pandemic, Denroy took decisive action and repurposed to manufacture PPE. The positive impact of this decision is clearly demonstrated by today’s announcement of new jobs and a contract that will provide PPE to our healthcare workers.
“The company has moved quickly and has already recruited all 130 jobs and hopes to grow further. These new roles will contribute £3.7 million in additional annual salaries to the local economy. Not only is this great news for the Ards & North Down Borough Council area, but also for the wider Northern Ireland economy.”
Health minister, Robin Swann, added: “At the outset of the Covid-19 pandemic caused us to think very differently about how to tackle many issues and we had to urgently consider how best to meet the challenge of protecting our health and social care staff while safely treating Covid-19 patients.
“The demand for PPE in the first surge of the pandemic placed tremendous strain on the health service in Northern Ireland. My procurement officials put a call out to local manufacturing, with Invest NI, to support the supply of critical PPE items and I am delighted that Denroy answered this call, particularly with a proposal for a new high grade respirator mask for those staff on the frontline treating Covid patients.
“To develop a brand-new product, create prototypes and have it tested, certified and considered fit for purpose within six months is quite remarkable. While I applaud Denroy for its innovation and vision, I must also recognise the work of key health staff who worked closely with Denroy innovators to refine the mask and robustly test new prototypes to get this mask in production.”
Denroy’s FFP3 single use mask was designed by the company’s aerospace engineers and filters 99 per cent of particles from the air, including the small respiratory droplets where coronavirus can be found.
The masks will be used by frontline workers across Northern Ireland, from intensive care staff to community care personnel.
Denroy Group CEO, Kevin McNamee commented: “We are proud of our staff and of our ingenuity over the last year, and the contribution we made during a time of national crisis. As well as helping with the emergency need for PPE, we have invested over £3 million into a new manufacturing facility, created over 130 jobs and secured this £19.5 million contract with HSCNI.
“Our plans are to grow our business further, create more jobs and build on this contract in our target markets of the Republic of Ireland, Great Britain and the US in the coming year. We have drawn on the extensive expertise of the team at Invest NI and we’re very grateful for their support.”
Invest NI has offered Denroy Group Ltd £1.5 million of support towards the creation of all 130 jobs, which includes a repayable loan of £900,000. The company has already created all of the roles.
Kevin Holland, CEO of Invest NI said: “Denroy has shown ingenuity and resilience with its move into the manufacturing of PPE. We have been pleased to provide a range of support to the company throughout the pandemic, from advice on standards for masks to assistance towards the new jobs. We look forward to helping it secure new export markets and I know our in-market teams are already working hard to support the company to achieve this.”