Longford timber giant Glennon Brothers won a prestigious industry award last week.
The company won Softwood Trader of the Year, the 140-year old Timber Trade Journal’s most coveted award at the Hilton Bankside Hotel in London.
The Award was open to companies across the UK and Ireland, Glennon Brothers is the first Irish timber supplier to win the award.
The company was also a finalist, one of just three, for the Smart Manufacturing Award.
Its £14 million biomass Combined Heat & Power (CHP) plant was hailed as an investment for its significant improvement in production efficiency.
The Troon facility in Scot- land was completed in 2018 and produces 2.5MW of electrical power, enough for the entire site with surplus energy fed to the National Grid.
The Joint Managing Director of Glennon Brothers, Mike Glennon, said: “We are absolutely thrilled to win this prestigious award, particularly in such a highly competitive market. I’d like to sincerely thank our customers for voting for (us), and for their con- tinued support and faith in us.
“More than 500 families in the UK and Ireland, de- pend on Glennon Brothers for their livelihood. On their behalf, I would like to say a big thank you for your business.”
His brother and fellow MD, Pat Glennon, said: “This is recognition of the hard work and effort put in by the people working in Glennon Brothers. We are very fortunate to have such a great team.”
Earlier, the third-generation timber processing family business, unveiled its new £20m flagship site in Fermoy, in Cork.
It brings the Longford firm’s investment in plant and technology in its four sawmills in Fermoy and Longford in Ireland, and Windymains and Troon in Scotland, over the past two decades to more than €100m.
Ireland’s Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD, its Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration David Stanton TD and TDs Kevin O’Keeffe and Seán Sherlock were at the opening in Fermoy.
Ireland’s forestry industry is worth 2.3 billion a year to the Irish economy and supports 12,000 jobs across the country.
It is forecast to double in size by 2035 and to create an additional 6,000 sustainable jobs in rural communities.
However, according to companies like Glennon Brothers, the industry faces an enormous threat because of Brexit.
Pictured at the awards representing Glennon Brothers from left to right: Gary Neville, Gary Sowerby, Paul Treacy, Pat Glennon, Scott Shiells, Zoe Lyons (Guest Speaker), Mike Glennon, Damien Cross and Tom Eagling.
It says Ireland’s timber industry is uniquely exposed to the consequences of a ‘no deal Brexit’ because the UK is the largest importer of wood in Europe, and the natural market for Irish exports.
Over half of Irish sawmills’ output is exported, of which 95 per cent goes to the UK.
The Agriculture Minister Mr Creed praised Glennon Brothers and said: “(The company) provides invaluable local employment and has in- vested heavily in the sector, so too has the Government over the past two decades. We now need to build on this invest- ment and ensure further growth and success into the future.
“Forestry plays a critical role in combating climate change, absorbing 3.6 million tonnes of CO2 annually, and is increasingly important in helping to mitigate climate change in Ireland.”
Eleven per cent of Ireland, 770,000 hectares, is under forestry.
Pat Glennon pointed out that every year in Ireland trees absorb 3.6 million tonnes of CO2, the same amount of CO2 emitted by over 655,000 Irish homes or taking 1.67 million cars off Ireland’s roads.
“(Ireland) has a natural advantage because (we) can grow trees twice as fast as some of our competitor countries. We need continued (government) support to in- vest in the national forestry programme and resolve critically important issues such as planting deficits and wood mobilisation. We have to work together, if we are to maintain a sustainable industry for the economy as a whole.”