Health Minister Robin Swann has praised the amazing response from local companies to help supply vital PPE to healthcare workers in Northern Ireland.
Minister Swann was speaking as he announced that an order with an estimated value of £15 million has been placed with Limavady firm Paragon Health to supply Type IIR face masks.
Minister Swann said: “As we all prepare for a critical phase in the battle against Covid-19 all parts of society have a part to play. Local industry has had the ingenuity, creativity and foresight to be part of the campaign in the fight against Covid-19 and I am delighted to make this announcement today.”
Paragon Health are the first of a number of firms across Northern Ireland to have successfully completed a series of rigorous technical and suitability assessments to allow them to provide vital PPE for the health and social care sector.
The Minister said: “In addition, a number of other local firms are nearing completion of the assessment process and if successful they too will begin production of the Type IIR masks in coming weeks. These orders are in excess of £49 million over 12 months."
The Minister concluded by commending the work of Business Services Organisation (BSO) in bringing the contracts to fruition.
He said: “These levels of production will be a massive step forward in ensuring continuity of supply of PPE for our front line workers across all health settings with millions of these masks being produced locally each month.”
Martin Tierney from Paragon Health paid tribute to the healthcare workers using these medical masks.
“We appreciate the tremendous effort and compassion that healthcare workers put into caring for patients every day. We’re proud to help protect them and to provide local employment at the same time.”
Mr Tierney also highlighted the importance of supporting local businesses and the impact this has had on their staff numbers.
“Each new staff member we bring on is paying a mortgage, raising a family and spending money in our local shops. Local people, here in Northern Ireland, have the ability to make high quality goods and to serve our own needs.
“We’ve designed and created world-class production processes to compete with any country on the manufacture of PPE. Our exports show that we can provide high quality goods, add local jobs and support research and development in a high-tech industry.”