Monday 11 December 2017

Award-winning architecture firm goes bust with loss of 127 jobs

Paul Melia

THE company behind some of the country's best-known buildings has gone bust with the loss of 127 jobs.

Award-winning architects Murray O'Laoire, which designed Munster rugby's Thomond Park stadium, yesterday made the shock announcement it had gone into liquidation. It blamed problems getting paid and the slowdown in the construction sector.

Formed in 1979 by Hugh Murray and Sean O'Laoire, it had offices in Dublin, Cork and Limerick and was one of the biggest firms in the country.

In recent years it also expanded to new markets and established offices in Slovakia, Russia, Germany, Libya, Barbados and the United Arab Emirates. It is understood that most of the 127 job losses will be in Ireland, and that all of its offices have closed.

The firm laid off 40 workers late last year at a time when hundreds of architects were losing their jobs.

In a statement yesterday the company confirmed it would cease trading because of difficulties getting paid.

The Royal Institute of Architects of Ireland (RIAI) said that half the country's 2,700 architects were currently unemployed, and it noted the collapse "with disappointment".


Murray O'Laoire had an international reputation and won more than 50 awards, including the RIAI Triennial Gold Medal Award in 1995 and the People's Choice Award at last year's RIAI Awards for Thomond Park.

Among the projects designed by the firm were the extension to Terminal One at Dublin Airport, CIT Cork School of Music and the Athlone Town Centre.

It also designed the €102m Midland Regional Hospital in Tullamore, worked on extending the protected Carton House in Co Kildare and on housing projects at Adamstown in Co Dublin.

It is unclear what will happen to projects the company was working on that have yet to enter the planning process. Those that are in or have completed planning are likely to see a change of agent.

Murray O'Laoire was working with Iarnrod Eireann on the €1bn redevelopment of Ceannt Station in Galway and on the DART Underground project.

It is also part of a consortium bidding to build the Metro North light-rail system, and is involved in the National Children's Hospital project and the proposed co-located hospital in Limerick.

Last night, Barry Kenny from Iarnrod Eireann said that designs for Ceannt and the DART were "substantially complete".

"We're genuinely shocked by the news and regret it," he said. "They've always been an excellent professional team to work with and we are very sorry for the people who lost their jobs. We do hope to work with some of them again."

Irish Independent

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