Ten new jobs for Kilcar are to be announced today, but the company concerned is doing so well that three of them have already come onstream.
Chris Weiniger, managing director of Donegal Yarns, confirmed the news yesterday. He’s one of four directors who took on Kilcar Yarns five years ago when it was a semi-state company facing closure. He said: “I believe this company has been one of the hidden treasures of this area. Our whole branding centres on the fact that this is genuine Donegal yarn and that is unique to the market out there.
“It was really Tom Hayden who put a package together to save the company. All the directors have extensive experience in the textile industry and could see the potential of keeping it going. I think a lot of our success is down to the fact that we have such experienced people on board, directors and workers, as well as young people here in the plant, and we’ve been able to generate new ideas.
“In the last four years, the big business growth has been in the export market, although we do great trade with local producers like Magee’s, Donegal Bay and Hanley’s. Our big sales, though are to places like Germany, Italy, the US, Japan and China. Despite the recession, hand-knitting in particular has seen significant growth world wide. A lot of celebrities talk about how they love knitting and it’s definitely caught on with a new generation. You can see this in on-line networks and things like knitting cafés.”
The company initially received support from Údarás na Gaeltachta which allowed them to take on six more staff, bringing numbers from 13 to 19. This week’s funding package is intended to facilitate the creation of ten more jobs over the next 24 months but things are going so well that three of these places have already been filled. “What’s vital to the future of the company is that we attract bright young people into the business and train them up in the skills that have been handed down from generation to generation here for over 100 years,” Chris concluded.