Painting a bright economic picture

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Painting a bright economic picture

28 Sep 2009


Article by: Anton McCabe
Posted: 20th Sept 2009

A rural painting firm has diversified in a bid to beat the downturn that is crippling other firms reliant on the construction industry.

Corlin Developments is now specialising in heritage conservation painting, as well as fire protection, and is advertising for staff at a time when lay-offs are widespread in the industry.

Based in the border town of Castlederg, Co Tyrone, the company has increased its turnover by stg£500,000 (€562,000) in the past year.

‘‘We are able to survive by focusing and specialising,” said director Eugene McLaughlin. ‘‘We have a special niche, and that’s what carries us through. We also invest in training, and that’s carrying us through as well,” he said.

‘‘We do our own training in house, and all our workers are direct employees. They are there years and years. A few of them are there as long as myself; they are people that grew up with the firm.”

McLaughlin said the company’s fire protection work complemented its heritage conservation painting. Corlin is currently working on fire protection in Leinster House.

Earlier this year, Corlin finished work on restoring the interior of Headfort House, Co Meath. McLaughlin said the Headfort House contract required a degree of detailed work that ‘‘had to be seen to be believed’’.

Headfort House contains the only complete interior in Ireland by 18th century Scottish architect Robert Adam.

The company is now working on the 18th century St Patrick’s Church in Slane, Co Meath, and the listed Huntly House in Belfast.

Corlin was founded in 2003, replacing Roulson McLaughlin, which had been in business since the early 1970s.

McLaughlin said that Roulson McLaughlin , had ‘‘dabbled’’ in heritage conservation painting, completed some work for the North’s National Trust and worked on the Parliament Buildings at Stormont.

In July, Corlin won the award as Johnstone’s Painter of the Year for its work on the restoration of the interior of Belfast City Hall.

To win the award, Corlin saw off more than 100 other entrants. It was the first time in 25 years the award had gone to an Irish firm. ‘‘I never thought it would come a cross ,” McLaughlin said.