Business Irish

Friday 28 October 2016

Knitwear boss's fears over Aran Islands air service

Gordon Deegan

Published 07/04/2016 | 02:30

The Barney's New York retail store. Photo: Bloomberg
The Barney's New York retail store. Photo: Bloomberg

The boss of a remote island knitwear firm that counts Barney's in New York among its clients yesterday predicted "a very buoyant year" for the business.

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The founding managing director of Inis Meáin Knitting Co, Tarlach de Blácam, said the business "is opening up new doors all the time" after he spent much of January and February overseas meeting clients.

Mr de Blácam said the company's products sell "extraordinarily well" at upmarket New York store Barney's, inset.

Mr de Blácam was commenting on accounts showing that accumulated profits at the firm increased from €170,475 to €211,649 in the 12 months to the end of December 2014.

Located on the smallest of the three Aran Islands, Inis Meáin Knitting today employs more than 10pc of the 160-strong island population with 18 people working at the firm.

Mr de Blácam said: "We are doing okay and we continue to grow our market for the high end products that we sell."

However, Mr de Blácam said that if a helicopter service were to win the Government's new four year air service contract for the Aran Islands "it would be hugely detrimental to our business".

"We are totally dependent on the fixed wing air service for transporting cargo, samples and personnel."

The Government tender for the new service was advertised last weekend.

However, Mr de Blácam said that "I am extremely worried about the tender as I believe it is weighted in favour of a helicopter service winning the contract".

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