Sixty Ir­ish sup­pli­ers could get caught in Bom­bardier cross­fire

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Business & Appointments - - FRONT PAGE - Fearghal O’con­nor

A THREAT­ENED tar­iff war be­tween the UK and the US cen­tred around avi­a­tion man­u­fac­turer Bom­bardier could cre­ate tur­bu­lence for as many as 60 Ir­ish em­ploy­ers.

Bom­bardier’s mas­sive Belfast op­er­a­tion re­lies heav­ily for key sup­plies on the aero­space man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor south of the Bor­der.

Its five Belfast fac­to­ries, which em­ploy more than 4,000 work­ers, spend tens of mil­lions of euro a year on sup­plies from at least 60 dif­fer­ent firms in the Repub­lic.

Its high-tech C-se­ries air­craft, large parts of which are man­u­fac­tured in Belfast, is at the cen- tre of a ma­jor UK-US trade stand­off. Com­po­nents used in the air­craft and other aero­space pro­jects are sup­plied by fac­to­ries em­ploy­ing hun­dreds of work­ers in Lim­er­ick, Water­ford, Mullingar, Car­low and Gal­way. Bom­bardier has also car­ried out tech­ni­cal pro­grammes with UCD, Univer­sity of Lim­er­ick, NUI Maynooth and NUI Gal­way.

Gaeltacht com­pany Eire­com­pos­ites, based in In­verin, Co Gal­way, has sup­plied ad­vanced com­pos­ite com­po­nents to the Belfast plant since win­ning a $2.7m (€2.28m) con­tract in 2008. Tech­ni­cal En­gi­neer­ing Group in Mullingar has pro­duced com­po­nents since 1981 and is an ap­proved ven­dor for Bom­bardier. An­other Bom­bardier sup­plier, Water­ford-based Schivo, which em­ploys up to 300, be­gan as­sem­bly of aero­space sub­struc­tures in 2015. Ear­lier this year, it was forced to close its Derry-based air­craft parts sub­sidiary.

In Lim­er­ick, med­i­cal-de­vice com­pany Takumi Pre­ci­sion En­gi­neer­ing has steadily in­creased its aero­space busi­ness to 60pc of its €6.3m turnover af­ter win­ning a range of con­tracts from Bom­bardier to sup­ply pre­ci­sion parts for the C-se­ries air­craft.

The com­pany has plans for a ma­jor ex­pan­sion to its fac­tory dur­ing 2018, it is un­der­stood. A sec­ond Lim­er­ick-based com­pany, Ger­ard Daniel World­wide, is the world’s largest sup­plier of wire cloth prod­ucts to man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­tries and also a key Bom­bardier sup­plier.

Bom­bardier’s mas­sive Belfast op­er­a­tion pro­duces the high-tech wing of the C-se­ries air­craft us­ing com­po­nents sup­plied from across Ire­land

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