Connemara Carpets Ltd
McMurray Carpets Ltd. operated in North West Connemara since 1970 making handmade carpets of an extremely high quality. At its height in in the early 1990s the business employed 22 workers. In more recent years the owners of the business had begun to wind down production primarily because they were reaching retirement and there was no successor in place to take over the enterprise. In late 2009 sadly McMurray Carpets closed its doors with the loss of 4 full-time jobs and 7 part-time positions.
However, in early 2010 local businessman Kieran O’Donohue approached FORUM Connemara with a view to re-establishing the business and brand using some of the existing workers. Kieran had a track record in local commercial and social enterprise and wished to establish the enterprise as a commercially viable business but also to re-establish and maintain the important skills and jobs within the community.
Kieran met with the project development officers in FORUM Connemara Ltd. to establish what supports may be available and as a result of this he set about researching his proposal and developing a business plan. Finally in late 2010 he submitted an application for funding under the Rural Development Programme (LEADER). Kieran was successful in his application and was awarded €30,000 in funding towards the purchase of the existing specialised equipment of McMurray Carpets. This allowed him to re-establish production in Connemara and to re-employ some of the existing employees. The enterprise focuses on the production of quality handmade carpets.
The funding and development support from Forum Connemara resulted in the re-establishment of 2 full-time and 4 part-time positions. The business maintains this level of employment and subject to increased levels of activity the enterprise has the capacity to employ more in the future.
Owner Kieran O’Donohue says:
“It would not have been possible to re-establish the enterprise without LEADER funding….ultimately the support of the LEADER programme has resulted in the creation of skilled employment in a small rural community making a very high quality product which for its future will depend primarily on export”.