Major jobs boost for Athlone

A "phenomenal demand due to Covid-19” is paying off for Athlone with up to 150 new jobs announced today at DPD Ireland's headquarters on the Dublin Road.

DPD chief executive Des Travers in the centre pictured with drivers Francie Bradley and Tom Searle earlier this year. Photographer: Paul Sherwood.

The new posts are part of 700 due to be in place by the end of the year as part of a major expansion by the country's largest parcel delivery company nationwide which will see their workforce grow to almost 2,000.

Recruitment is underway for the new jobs announced by Tánaiste and Minister Leo Varadkar in Dublin today, which will see up to 150 positions to be based in Athlone, with the remaining 550 drivers and operational personnel to service deliveries to and from all of their 36 regional depots nationwide.

The latest expansion will bring staff numbers in Athlone to 750.

DPD Ireland is also investing €1 million in its automation and routing systems in its central hub and sortation facility in Athlone.

The company will invest a further €1 million in additional driver scanner technology to support the anticipated parcel volume increase due to flow through the business this Christmas period and has already spent €500,000 this year doubling the size of its depots in Cork, Kildare and Meath, with two more facilities opening in Dublin this month.

Chief Executive Des Travers said the firm has experienced "a phenomenal increase in demand due to Covid-19."

“Our services have played an important role in these unprecedented times, with consumers ordering more online due to coronavirus concerns. The new jobs will increase our workforce to almost 2,000, enabling us to continue to meet customer demand,” he said.

“The additional roles provide a glimmer of light against the bleak backdrop of the coronavirus crisis, and we hope the expansion of our business will help boost the economy as a whole.”

The new jobs are in addition to 100 new driver roles announced in April of this year amid a surge in demand due to the pandemic. The company reported increases in deliveries of electrical goods of 800%, with pet food up 300%, and sports equipment up 225% at the height of the lockdown.

Speaking from Government Buildings, Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar said: “This investment from DPD Ireland, which will create 700 jobs nationwide is a fantastic boost to the country.

“Depots in Cork, Kildare and Meath have already doubled in size this year, attesting to the massive increase in online shopping we’ve seen during the pandemic. Athlone is the ideal location for the expansion to DPD Ireland’s facility due to its skilled workforce and high connectivity to the whole country. I wish DPD Ireland the very best of luck with this latest development.”

MInister Robert Troy at DPD's headquarters in Athlone. Photographer: PAULINA_KUSA

Minister of State with responsibility for Trade Promotion, Digital and Company Regulation, Robert Troy said the news is a really positive development for the Midlands.

"The expansion of their operation represents a strong endorsement of Athlone and the Midlands as an excellent place to succeed in business.”

He continued: “The Midlands has had to face a difficult transition with the decline of peat production and like every other region is now experiencing the challenges brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

"The announcement by DPD Ireland today however demonstrates that economic renewal and growth is possible despite these challenges. I want to congratulate DPD Ireland management and all of its employees for creating this success story in Athlone.

Minister Peter Burke, who was alongside the Tanaiste today at the jobs announcement, commented: "We are very well located in Longford Westmeath, with our towns at the centre of the country, well connected to Dublin and other key locations via rail, bus and our much-improved road network.

"I understand DPD Ireland is committed to Athlone, and shares our appreciation of the location and benefits which we offer in the Midlands.

"It is great to see DPD in Athlone go from strength to strength and in positive co-operation with the government and business environment. From starting out in Athlone in 2006 and extending again in 2017, this is a great vote of confidence in the midlands as a great location to set up and do business in.

It is great to have some positive news during a pandemic and these roles will make a big difference to individuals and families in the Midlands," Minister Burke said.

The new jobs were also welcomed by Roscommon TD Denis Naughten, who said along with the retention of the An Post mail centre means Athlone is becoming a vital distribution hub in the country.

“This major expansion also highlights the huge potential there is for local business to start trading online with a 90% grant currently available to set up a website or to be able to make online sales,” stated Denis Naughten.

“This Christmas season more goods than ever before will be sold online because of Covid-19 restrictions and that is why we are witnessing a further major expansion of the DPD operation in Athlone.”

The news was also welcomed by local Cllr John Dolan, who said DPD are a major source of employment for the greater Athlone area, and a major contributor to the local economy.

"Not only does DPD directly employ a large amount of local people, it also provides work for a number of hauliers on a contract basis. It is great to see a good new story at this time and I have no doubt that this won't be the last expansion by DPD."

DPD Ireland is part of DPDgroup - the largest international parcel delivery network in Europe.

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