A County Derry company has secured a £15m order for PPE equipment for the health and social care sector.
Limavady-based Paragon Health are the first company in Northern Ireland to secure such an order, after going through a series of 'rigorous' suitability assessments.
Making the announcement, Health Minister Robin Swann has praised the amazing response from local companies to help supply vital PPE to healthcare workers in Northern Ireland.
“As we all prepare for a critical phase in the battle against Covid-19 all parts of society have a part to play," he said.
"Local industry has had the ingenuity, creativity and foresight to be part of the campaign in the fight against Covid-19 and I am delighted to make this announcement today.
“In addition, a number of other local firms are nearing completion of the assessment process and if successful they too will begin production of the Type IIR masks in coming weeks. These orders are in excess of £49 million over 12 months."
The Minister concluded by commending the work of Business Services Organisation (BSO) in bringing the contracts to fruition.
He said: “These levels of production will be a massive step forward in ensuring continuity of supply of PPE for our front line workers across all health settings with millions of these masks being produced locally each month.”
Martin Tierney from Paragon Health paid tribute to the healthcare workers using these medical masks.
“We appreciate the tremendous effort and compassion that healthcare workers put into caring for patients every day. We’re proud to help protect them and to provide local employment at the same time," he said.
Mr Tierney also highlighted the importance of supporting local businesses and the impact this has had on their staff numbers.
“Each new staff member we bring on is paying a mortgage, raising a family and spending money in our local shops. Local people, here in Northern Ireland, have the ability to make high quality goods and to serve our own needs.
“We’ve designed and created world-class production processes to compete with any country on the manufacture of PPE. Our exports show that we can provide high quality goods, add local jobs and support research and development in a high-tech industry.”
East Derry MLA Cara Hunter has welcomed news of the £15m pre-order for the Limavady company.
"As we prepare for a difficult winter, all of us have a role to play in the fight against COVID-19," she said.
"Across the North, our local industry have demonstrated incredible creativity and flexibility, adapting their businesses to produce vital equipment.
"I am delighted that Paragon Health in Limavady have stepped up to the plate and been awarded a significant contract, worth £15million, to produce PPE for our health and care workers.”
“This PPE is essential for our amazing health staff as we face into a very challenging number of weeks. I applaud the staff and management at Paragon Health and hope this is the beginning of a number of local firms producing this vital equipment.”
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