The late John Murphy, a Kerryman, founded this iconic Irish building firm whose dark green vans became a frequent sight on British roads since it was established in 1951. When people think of the Irish who built Britain, J Murphy & Sons is often the firm that springs to mind. It evolved after his arrival in London in the 1930s, going on to start out after the war, clearing bombed-out sites in London and helping to rebuild airfields outside the capital.
His Kildare-based son, Bernard Murphy (73), and his extended family now own the firm, and this month, the late John's grandson, also John, stepped into the role as CEO, having been COO for a number of years. It employs over 3,000 people. The company is working on some of the UK's biggest construction projects including London's crossrail, as well as bridges, pipelines, railways, tunnels and water projects. It booked €740m of sales in its last accounts, throwing off €26m in profits.
In 2016, the main firm's CEO said it plans to grow turnover to €2.4bn by 2025. There are also businesses in Australia and Canada. A US one was closed down in 2016. An Isle of Man company over-arches the entire group of firms, which also includes an Irish contracting firm and a water infrastructure company.
There is a UK and Irish property portfolio owned between two companies worth about €200m. The UK ones are in London and appreciated by about €20m in 2016.