NOW APPROACHING 70 YEARS IN BUSINESS, O’NEILL HEAVY HAULAGE IS ONE OF THE LONGEST-RUNNING HEAVY HAULAGE OPERATORS IN IRELAND. BASED IN THE SMALL TOWN OF HOSPITAL, CO. LIMERICK, DECLAN MCGINN TALKS TO MANAGING DIRECTOR, JIMMY O’NEILL, ABOUT THE COMPANY’S DEVELOPMENT OVER THE PAST SEVEN DECADES.
PHOTOGRAPHY: PAUL DORRELL
Established in 1947 by his father, initially in livestock haulage, it was not until O’Neill himself got involved in the business in the late sixties that the company moved into heavy haulage. “It started off for us as a hobby really”, recalls O’Neill. “In the beginning we had one or two guys ask us to move some awkward loads and over time we got more and more inquiries for jobs, so we started to pick up more specialised equipment to cater for them and it developed from there. We are still using the original bank account started in 1947, even outlasting the bank branch which has been closed for nearly five years now”. What started off as a hobby is now the frontline service for O’Neill’s, with a wide range of customers in various sectors, from vessel manufacturers to wind turbine contracts and lots in between.
Currently, O’Neill Heavy Haulage is involved in the movement of 65 turbines to sites all over Ireland in a two-year contract with others still at tendering stage. Other work includes the installation of underground concrete cable connector boxes, and vessel deliveries for local tank manufacturers to sites throughout Ireland and the UK. The increase in craft brewery and distillery start-ups have boosted an already thriving business for tank manufacturers and offers constant work to compliment the wind energy contracts.