Building Your Business
PLATO joins Thousands of Visitors at Combilift for its Launch Event

2 May 2018

PLATO congratulates its PLATO Leader Martin McVicar and all the Combilift team upon the Grand Opening of their new 46,000sqm factory on the edge of Monaghan town. Ths week Comblift has entertained the Taoiseach, Two Senior Ministers and many foreign Ambassadors for Trade this week as well as 15,000 visitors from the UK & Europe and as far as the Far East and Australia. 

Welcome to County Monaghan, home of Combilift’ read the signs on the approach to Ireland’s newest and largest single manufacturing plant, on the outskirts of Monaghan Town. This week, the county welcomes visitors from all corners of the globe, as world-leading forklift maker Combilift, one of the country’s biggest manufacturing success stories, throws open the doors of its brand new 46,000 sqm factory and global HQ to trade partners and media from Europe, America and Australia. Hear Martin's interview with Newstalk HERE

Monaghan County Council is seizing this homegrown triumph to set its stall as one of Ireland’s most desirable business locations. “Monaghan is uniquely positioned - not only geographically, but also in terms of a can-do attitude that is ingrained here,” says chief executive, Eamonn O’Sullivan. “Combilift is just one example of a Monaghan business success story,” he continues, “and we see the factory opening here this week as a real opportunity to show would-be investors that Monaghan has what it takes to be their next business base.”
Monaghan’s border location provides strategic access to the UK market as well as easy access to key airports and ferry terminals. Combilift’s international visitors, for example, can opt to fly in to either Dublin or Belfast International airport - both under 90 minutes from the new plant. Meanwhile, Carrickmacross, the county’s most southerly town, is within 50 minutes’ drive of the M50.  
Mullan Lighting is another local business reaping the benefits of proximity to both Dublin and Belfast. The lighting design company flies the flag for Ireland at leading international trade shows and exports to 40 counties worldwide. Mullan’s latest projects have included bespoke lighting design for the prestigious La Mer mixed-use development in Dubai, and Dublin’s Pearse Lyons Distillery.

“We have access to couriers both north and south of the border and can deliver into the UK – a market that accounts for around 20 per cent of turnover – very quickly and at less cost as a result,” says Mike Treanor, Mullan’s director of design.

Pooling resources, reducing set-up costs

Concentration of complimentary businesses is another of the county’s key advantages. As well as engineering and construction, Monaghan is a hub for agri-food businesses: nine out of the top 10 employers in the county involved in food production, including Monaghan Mushrooms, which sells 1,800 tonnes of mushrooms every week and operates in 29 locations worldwide; and Silver Hill Farm, supplier of what’s widely considered to be the finest duck in the world, to London’s China Town and top chefs including Heston Blumenthal. Manor Farms, Kepak, ABP and Kerry Group all have sizable operations in the county too.

Lough Egish Food Park, just outside Ballybay, is a 62-acre site specifically designed with the food industry in mind, where companies such as Glanbia, Nest Box and Swift Fine Foods enjoy reduced set-up and running costs thanks to shared on-site facilities including 16,800 sqm of temperature controlled storage, blast freezing, dock levellers, indoor tautliner loading facility and a host of complimentary support services. National and international distribution capabilities and groupage services to the UK and Europe are also provided. 

Flexible use, low-cost business premises

There’s more to Monaghan than industrial premises. From state-of-the-art, multi-use conference venues, to hot-desking space and office rental on flexible terms, Monaghan offers a myriad commercial property options. Purpose-built enterprise, technology and business parks in Monaghan Town, Carrickmacross, Clones, Ballybay and Emyvale accommodate businesses of various sizes in high-spec, self-contained units, that are equipped with high-speed broadband, shared kitchen facilities and ample parking. 

Enterprise Ireland recently allocated €200,000 funding to develop the incubator kitchen facility at the Ballybay Enterprise Park into a Regional Food Centre of Excellence, where startups in the food industry can make use of high-spec R&D facilities including fully equipped test kitchens.

Office space in Monaghan costs €10-12 per square foot on average: anywhere up to a third of the cost of commercial property of similar specification in Dublin.

Similarly, the cost of living compares very favourably with more densely populated parts of the country. Average house prices in Monaghan are considerably below the national average, with a typical 3-bedroom semi-detached property costing €164,188, compared with €247,000 nationally ( average house price survey, Q1 2018).

Entrepreneurial spirit coupled with a skilled, adaptable workforce

Monaghan has previously been dubbed the most entrepreneurial county in Ireland, with an above-average rate of people registered as employers, and six of the top 10 employers in the county indigenous businesses.

"There's a real entrepreneurial spirit here in County Monaghan - a legacy of many companies doing amazing things in business and quietly getting on with it in an unassuming manner. It definitely rubs off on you," according to Blanaid Johnson, director of Castleblayney-based, one of Ireland’s leading online beauty retailers. 

With the support of Monaghan County Council and the Local Enterprise Office, businesses in the county are encouraged to work in conjunction with local education providers to address skills gaps. The workforce in Monaghan is therefore highly adaptable, whilst employers can dip into a pool of talent with specialist expertise right on its doorstep.

Market-leading interior fitout specialist, Errigal Contracts, joined forces with Monaghan LEO in 2016 to set up a City & Guilds course in drylining; hundreds have since acquired the qualification. 

Errigal moved its operations from Dublin to Monaghan in 2010. For co-owner and director, Damien Treanor, the decision to relocate to County Monaghan was a no-brainer:

“The Irish construction market slumped. We knew we couldn't survive and grow the company if we relied on the Irish market alone so we focused more on the UK and mainland European market. For logistics reasons we decided we needed to move our operation out of Dublin. We considered London but decided on a move to our partly finished warehouse in north Monaghan,” Treanor explains. “Now we have a 28,000 square foot office and training centre, and 80,000 square feet of storage and we continue to grow as a company in our rural community.”

The move clearly paid off, as Errigal recorded a turnover in excess of €50m in 2017, up 38 per cent on the previous year. 

Find out more about basing your business in County Monaghan, at

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