Expanding and diversifying, brick by brick

Expanding and diversifying, brick by brick
Keith McGrath, sales director of McGrath’s Limestone PIcture: Michael McLaughlin

A Mayo quarrying company is taking its business outside Ireland to Scotland, Sweden and Estonia

From its early days supplying the agricultural sector in Ireland in the 1960s, the Mayo quarrying company McGrath’s Limestone has diversified to win business outside Ireland in markets including Britain and Sweden.

Established in the 1960s by brothers John Joe and Michael McGrath, the family business is now run jointly by John Joe’s sons Keith and Damien, and Michael’s children Michael jr and Linda. McGrath’s Limestone employs 71 people directly and a further 35 indirectly.

The company has a 180-acre quarry in Cong and overseas depots in Scotland and Sweden. Another depot will open in the south of England next year.

The company has continued to diversify since the early 1980s, when it began to manufacture stone and aggregates for the building trade and local authorities, and produce ready-mix concrete and concrete blocks. In the 1990s, McGrath’s began exporting weathered limestone rockery stone to Britain and acquired an asphalt manufacturing plant.

The more recent addition of a limestone fines filler plant has allowed the company to diversify further into calcium carbonate and flours, and grits production for the glass manufacturing, agricultural feeds and industrial sectors in Ireland and Europe.

“We’ve being exporting since 2010. Our main markets are the glass-making industries in Scotland, Sweden and Estonia,” said sales director Keith McGrath.

“We have stockists for our bedding hygiene products all over Ireland in agri-merchants and co-ops.

“We also have a new product, a cemfloor screed, with distributors all over Ireland and Britain.

“We would hope to add another ten to 15 jobs in the next three years through the expansion of our cemfloor exports.”

McGrath’s Limestone is a client company of state agency Enterprise Ireland.

“Enterprise Ireland gave us great support from the minute we started exporting,” said McGrath. “They have helped us with business expansion, access to new markets, feasibility studies and the Lean Plus programme we are currently working on. Our R&D department is working more on value-added products and trying to sustain our high-purity limestone reserve for higher-end exportable products.”

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