Limerick firm reaping benefits of soaring face mask demand around world

The ill-wind of coronavirus has blow a jobs bonanza to a Co. Limerick company.

Limerick firm reaping benefits of soaring face mask demand around world

The ill-wind of coronavirus has blow a jobs bonanza to a Co. Limerick company.

Due to a worldwide shortage of face masks, even the Chinese are queuing up to purchase masks made by Irema in Kilmallock..

Irema, a wholly-owned Irish company, is busy recruiting new workers as it has to double output over the next week..

Marketing manager, Kieran O'Brien said: "We have a full time workforce of 50 and because of the worldwide demands for face masks we are in the process of adding another 15 as we need to ramp up our operation from 24/5 to 24/7. The last time we had to ramp up was when the Sars virus struck in 2003. "

Irema exports most of its masks internationally to Western Europe and the Middle East,

It also sells a certain percentage of its product to China which is finding it hard to keep up stocks from its own manufacturers.

Mr O'Brien said: "Up to now we would manufacture about 1.3 million masks a week and with demand due to the coronavirus we will need to double output to 2.6 million masks a week.

"We supply the HSE with surgical face masks and also supply many manufacturing companies which need to have a clean room work environment. We make two types of face mask: a surgical and a respirator.

"We make masks for international companies which market them under their brands and we also have our own brand 'Facemate'."

Mr O'Brien said: "Such has been the demand there (in China), we have been getting larger orders to add to the amount we ordinarily supply to the China market."

More in this section