A former property manager says his company’s furniture and appliances consignment business has become increasingly profitable since a major refurbishment program was launched.
The move has put a new spin on a business that has long been considered the quintessential Irish-made enterprise.
In the past five years, the company has made more than £200,000 in profit and the majority of its sales have been in Ireland.
But the Irish Government has been reluctant to put in place any new measures to protect the Irish-built industry.
In April this year, the Government agreed to invest up to €1.7 billion in the country’s building industry and pledged to create more than 40,000 new jobs over the next three years.
The plan was hailed by the business community as a big step towards making the industry a more attractive proposition for foreign buyers.
It also has the potential to put pressure on the Irish economy to continue investing in the sector, as the country is one of the biggest exporters of furniture in the world.
“The Government has done a lot of things for the Irish furniture industry, particularly the investment in the building sector,” said John O’Brien, the head of the Cork-based company.
“We’re not going to see the same level of investment in Ireland as we would in the UK.”
There’s a lot more investment coming, there’s a real sense of momentum.
“But the fact that it’s a very small number of jobs is not the reason that we’re doing well.”
Mr O’Connor said the new investment would see his company invest in more facilities to cater for overseas customers.
“Our overseas customers are still coming in with a view to our new facilities and that is our focus,” he said.
“I think we’re going to do very well in Ireland and in other parts of the world, particularly in Europe, we will see great growth in that area.”
Mr Tull, the director of the Dublin-based furniture company, said his business has made steady progress.
“It’s always going to be about how much money you make and how many sales you do,” he added.
“What’s happened is we’ve been able to keep growing at a really high rate.”
In the last year we’ve made more money than we have for the last 15 years.
“Mr Hargreaves said the move to invest in Ireland was a significant one and a good example of what he believed was a strong Government.”
Ireland is the most beautiful place on earth and I don’t think anyone could argue that it is more beautiful than it is,” he explained.”
When you’re able to bring your business to the Irish market, you bring your people and you bring to the table a great community and a very competitive market.
“Mr Murphy said he hoped that this new investment in Cork would encourage the Irish public to look more closely at the Irish business and what it has to offer.”
If we see that the Irish have a real opportunity to grow and compete globally, then we can do that,” he continued.”
They are a really great, strong country and we’ve got the resources to attract those companies.