Exactly thirty years ago this month, in June 1976, Thermo King began the production of transport refrigeration units for trucks and trailers, on a 200,000 square foot site at Mervue. The building they took over had originally been occupied by a French multinational company named Potez, who manufactured heaters there for a number of years. It was a big plant by Galway standards, and the local people availed of many of their facilities ------Mervue GAA Club was set up at a meeting held in the building, and Mass was said in the canteen for many years until Mervue Church was officially opened in 1968.
In 1971, the IDA opened it's Galway office in an attempt to attract new international companies to the west of Ireland, a novel concept at that time.They certainly succeeded with the opening of Thermo King which was regarded as a major step in the industrialization programme for the western region. The official opening was performed on October 7th, 1976, by the Minister for Industry and Commerce, Justin Keating. The building was blessed in an ecumenical service by Right Reverend J.C.Duggan, Lord Bishop of Tuam, Fr. J.J.Hyland, PP, Castlegar and Reverend D.A.Cooney of the Methodist Church. The Minister, in his speech spoke of how good it was to see new high quality and durable jobs being created, and new technologies and new processes being brought into the country.
Durable is a word that describes this company who are still there thirty years later. They started off with some 50 employees, but they had increased that number to 200 within the first year. Remarkably, eleven of that first group are still working in the plant Pat Healy , Pat Howard , Gerry Lane , John Molloy , Dominic Nolan , Gerry O'Connor , Ronan Daly , J.J.Duignan, Pat Fitzpatrick , Noel McNicholas and Tony Stephens. In those early days, anyone who crossed the border from Mayo was regarded as a foreigner today they have 600 employees representing 15 nationalities.
The economic impact made by Thermo King on this region over the years had been incalculable. They have provided employment for hundreds of people, and have been major customers for many suppliers and maintenance people locally. They have also made a major impact on various sportsfields, bringing many trophies and much honour to Mervue Their sports club organises events in football and in hurling, in snooker and in badminton, in flying and in horseriding. Their social club is famous for the charitable work it does in terms of old folks parties, childrens parties, sports days, etc and also in sponsoring many charitable organisations around the city. Their list of achievement is lmpressive and long may it continue. Bail o Dhia ar an obair.
To celebrate thirty years of Thermo King in Galway, we have five photographs
- The entrance to the plant, taken in the late seventies.
- Some members of staff ; Paddy Finn ; Tom Gordon ; Tommy Hayes ; Padraic Finnegan. In front are Mike Gordon, Ian Garvey and Mike Murphy.
- The cutting of the tape at the official opening by Minister for Industry and Commerce, Justin Keating, October 7th, 1976. Also in the picture are J.C.Sheehan, President, Thermo King Corporation, D.D.Stark, vice-president , D.D.Danforth, President Industry Products Company and R.D.Kahler, President, Thermo King Europe.
- D. Thermo King, All Ireland Inter Firm Senior Hurling Champions, 1991. Back Row ; Michael Coleman ; Paul Cooney ; Vincent Burke ; Eamonn Burke ; Tommy Kenny ; Jimmy Burke ; Jody Flaherty ; Noel Morrissey ; Martin McDonagh,manager. Front row ; Mike Murphy ; Tomas Broderick ; Mike Corcoran ; Mike Cahill ; Mike Haverty ; Noel Cooney & Tom Monaghan.
- Thermo King Gaelic Football Team, 1981, County and Connacht Interfirm Division I Champions. Back row; Noel McNicholas, manager ; Ollie Murphy ; John Clancy ; Gerry Moore ; Peter Power ; Gerry Burke ; Tom Power ; Tom Devaney ;Tom Forde ; Jimmy Leech ; Ronan Daly. Front Row ; John Burke ; Padraic Flattery ; Mike Gordon ; Syl Dolan ; Tony Donnellan ; Brendan Davis, Captain ; Martin Collins ; Mike Clesham ; Paddy Geoghegan and Tom Connolly.
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