Up to €1.6m bus pole contract for Tuam Engineering firm

Tuam firm Larkin Engineering and Street Products have secured a prestige contract worth up to €1.6 million over the next two years for the supply of bus poles, with information display cases and metal flags to the National Transport Authority (NTA ).

The NTA have signed the contract with Larkin Engineering for the supply of the products for use by bus operators all over the country.

This contract comes in the wake of the Tuam firm in supplying and erecting 38 shelters for Dart along its lines in Dublin as well as the supply of bicycle sheds to Bam Construction both here and in London which are used in schools.

“We supplied and kitted out bicycle shelters to four new schools around Ireland in recent times including one at Doughuisce in Galway as well as others in Clare, Wicklow and Tramore,” says Noel Larkin, Managing Director of the firm.

He started out the business as a one-man firm in 1985 and now it has grown to having a staff of 28 with further increases by between ten and 20 per cent expected following the NTA contract and others with the additional jobs expected in the sales and manufacturing areas.

Over 20 per cent of the firm’s business is now in the UK and Northern Ireland, much of it for street furniture and litter bins with city and county councils and this is expected to increase for a further ten per cent in the coming year while similar business with local authorities across Ireland is also on the increase.

Another Tuam firm JFC Plastics have also benefited from the NTA order as this company is working in association with Larkins by manufacturing the plastic information display cases for the flag poles which will display bus timetable and onward travel information. Larkin Engineering also work in product design and manufacture with another Tuam company Cormac Sheep Equipment Limited.

Three years ago Larkin Engineering won the tender for the supply of bus poles for Bus Eireann and that contract was worth over €100,000. The firm also make and erect shelters for Irish Rail including ones put in place recently at Oranmore and Ballinasloe stations in Galway.

The firm expanded its manufacturing facilities at Weir Road, Tuam in 1995 and is now running a partial second shift to keep up with business demands and the possibility of running around the clock shift for manufacturing its products is now on the cards.

But Noel Larkin, who was elected as an Independent City Councillor in Galway where he lives last May is critical of the crippling costs that deter so many from setting up their own business.

“The cost of service charges and rates by local authorities, expensive planning permission fees and other costs are putting people off from setting up firms and this is stifling employment prospects for many,” he said.

Larkin Engineering and Street Furniture are ISO 9000 & 14000 accredited and have won the First Flight Exporter of the Year award from the Irish Exporters Association. Stephen Larkin says that with a 15 per cent growth in their sales last year they hope to push this up by a further 20 per cent or more during 2015.

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