Mike Glennon of Glennon Brothers, which has a major plant in Fermoy, was one of the speakers who presented at the Timber Trade Federation UK Softwood Conference which was held in London on March 6.
At the conference, Mike outlined the significance of the Irish forest product sector, the importance of trade between the UK and Ireland, and the potential impacts of Brexit.
“The Irish forestry and forest products sector supports 12,000 rural jobs and contributes an estimated €2.3 billion to the Irish Economy. The key market for Irish timber exports has always been the UK. Over half of the Irish sawmills output is exported, with 95% going to the UK. 90% of panel products produced in Ireland are exported, with two thirds going to the UK.”
He also highlighted the importance of Ireland’s trading relationship with the UK. €60 billion is traded between the UK and Ireland annually, and over 40%, of indigenous Irish company’s exports are to the UK.
He went on to outline the risks to this trade caused by Brexit, including the impact a hard border would have on the island of Ireland and on the 30,000 people who cross the border each day.
Looking toward the future, Mike referred to Forest Industries Ireland, a new trade association launched in early 2019. He also outlined the opportunities that exist, with the significant growth in log supply from the private sector.
‘’We have a robust and resilient processing sector, and whilst we face uncertainty over Brexit, the Irish sawmilling sector has always been committed to the UK and that will not change. Ireland has all the conditions in place for a world class forest products sector, our industry has overcome many challenges before, and I am confident that if we work together, we can do it again.’’
Glennon Brothers, which was established in Longford in 1913 is the premier name in the UK and Irish timber processing industry.
The company are constantly upgrading and assuring the future of the industry so in 2014 they completed a €14 million investment, into value added processing facilities, in Fermoy.
First of its kind in Europe
The development featured a Lineal High-Speed Grader, which combines the technologies of x-ray, ultra sound, vibration, and vision and is the first of its kind in Europe.
In 2013, Glennon Brothers were awarded a coveted Ruban d’Honneur medal by the European Business Awards.
The Group is committed to reducing its impact on the environment and has gained Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification for its products across all timber processing sites, ensuring that they are sourced from sustainably managed forests.
The firm continues to push the boundaries of machinery and technology to produce home grown timber to the highest international standards.