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Innovation in polymer sector sees 7.7% jobs growth reaching 7,000 - Polymer Technology Ireland

Polymer Technology Ireland, the Ibec group that represents the polymer technology sector in Ireland, today launched its 2020 strategy ‘Polymer technology: The backbone of Irish manufacturing’ (see attached) setting out how the industry is driving manufacturing growth and adding high quality jobs in Ireland.

Speaking at the launch, Polymer Technology Ireland Director Mark McAuley said: “Polymer technology is a growing industry in Ireland with the number of companies rising to 230 which boasts an annual turnover of €2.1 billion. This has driven strong jobs growth of 7.7% in the past couple of years with 7,000 now working across Ireland with major hubs in Athlone, Limerick, Galway, Sligo, Dublin, Cork and Waterford.

The high-tech polymer industry is a driver of innovation in the medtech, ICT, biopharma, agri-food and automotive sectors. As well as being an industry of regional significance, the polymer sector is making a global impact with 77% of sales exported worth €1.62 billion annually.

“The Circular Economy is an important area of focus with the EU setting out ambitious targets. Companies like Wellman International have been leading the way for years with 75% of their raw material coming from recycled materials. We must make sure that the recycled materials are available to make these goals a reality. We will continue to work with our members, government and key European partners to make progress.”

Polymer Technology Ireland Chair John Wallace said: “Manufacturing has played a major role in the development of the Irish economy and the polymer technology industry is a vital area of expertise. The new Polymer Technology Ireland Strategy puts a spotlight on innovative companies like: West’s manufacturing autoinjector devices for diabetes treatment; Trend Technologies production of complex components for Jaguar and Land Rover cars; and JL Goor’s work in the design of packaging to extend the shelf-life of food products to reduce waste, to name but a few.”

“As a high-tech sector, getting the right skills is essential. We’ve had great enthusiasm for the new industry-led polymer technology apprenticeship offering people a chance to earn while they learn. Additionally, for nearly 20 years, the industry has been able to upskill and reskill people at our First Polymer Training Centre in Athlone; a one-of-a-kind training centre in Athlone supported by Skillnet Ireland. To ensure people pursue careers in the polymer sector, we need to continue to highlight the attractiveness of science, technology, engineering and maths as a gateway to global opportunities. We must make sure we have ambitious investment in education, housing and infrastructure to maintain the talent pipeline.”

Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, TD said: “Ireland continues to be a thriving hub for the polymer technology sector and we are now one of the largest exporters of polymer products in Europe.  The polymer industry offers immense potential and capability and continues to be a critical partner to the broad manufacturing sectors in Ireland. I welcome the launch of this new Polymer Technology Strategy, both as a showcase of Ireland’s talent in this space, and as a driver of industry-led skills and innovation for the future.”

“I will be working hard with my colleagues across Government, in collaboration with the Enterprise agencies under my remit, to help ensure that the polymer technology industry continues to grow in Ireland.”


Photos available from Gary O’Neill Photography: /  0877974300

Notes for the editor

Strategic priorities outlined in ‘Polymer technology: The backbone of Irish manufacturing’:

  • Represent the polymer sector: Represent the Irish polymer industry at both a national and international level; advocate for polices that support growth; and support an ambitious national planning strategy to address the needs of the country
  • Build awareness of the value of the polymer industry to key stakeholders: Showcase the scale and diversity of the high-tech polymer industry; provide information on the sector’s role in supporting health sector and environment
  • Deliver high quality information to Polymer Technology Ireland members: Improve awareness of market developments and areas of focus such as skills, the circular economy, health and safety as well as trade
  • Support the development of a world class talent pool for the polymer sector: Make Ireland a leader in talent development, develop the First Polymer Skilnet centre to help people reskill and upskill, grow the apprenticeship, raise awareness of exciting career opportunities in the sector
  • Provide opportunities to maximise business to business engagement and support business development: Facilitate interaction with relevant sectors, identify opportunities and new markets in light of trends, and collaborate with strategic partners.


Companies profiled in the ‘Polymer technology: The backbone of Irish manufacturing’ include:


  *   JL Goor, Dublin, and Cork

  *   Ultrapolymers Group, Dublin

  *   Innovative Polymer Compounds, Westmeath

  *   Automatic Plastics, Wicklow

  *   Gem Plastics, Cavan

  *   Wellman International, Cavan

  *   Trend Technologies, Westmeath

  *   West, Dublin and Waterford

  *   Anecto, Galway

  *   Litec Moulding, Sligo

  *   Mergon, Westmeath


[A map of the sector can be found on page 30 and 31 of the strategy]