Hardware sector set for growth as housebuilding recovers

Ireland's hardware sector is set for strong growth as the recovery in housebuilding continues.

With the economy forecast to grow by between 4% and 5% in the coming years the sector could create a further 2,000 jobs between now and the end of the decade, according to Hardware Association Ireland CEO, Annemarie Harte.

Speaking at the Association's 80th anniversary conference, Ms Harte said that 2,000 jobs could be considered a conservative estimate.

"According to the latest CSO figures the hardware sales grew by 5.1% in 2017.

"We can anticipate an increase in this figure during the next two years as a result of additional housebuilding.

"Forecasting is always an inexact science, but the hardware sector is a vital component in the construction industry supply chain and current trends point to robust and sustainable growth in both sales volumes and employment.

"Ten per cent growth in both could be a conservative estimate."

Ms Harte also pointed to the risk to the sector proposed by Brexit.

"Our members source some 20% of their imports from the UK but it is the timber sector which faces the greatest challenges," said Ms Harte.

"The Irish timber sector contributes €2.6bn to the economy and sustains 12,000 full time

rural jobs directly and indirectly.

"Over half of Irish sawmills’ output is exported, and 95% of those exports go to the UK.

"In addition, 90% of panel products produced in Ireland are exported, with two thirds going to the UK."

She said that the government must pay particular attention to the needs of the timber sector during Brexit negotiations.

Digital Desk

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