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O’Neills leads new battle against COVID-19 with rapid testing for staff

O’Neills Irish International Sports Co. Ltd. has announced new investment in COVID-19 rapid testing within its own workforce as part of wider health protection measures to help safeguard both staff and customers.

The Co. Tyrone based company is now carrying out testing using COVID-19 self-testing kits sourced from an internationally renowned private healthcare laboratory service. The move follows a number of positive cases in September among O’Neills’ employees and others having to self-isolate as a result of Test and Trace.

O’Neills is Ireland’s largest sportswear manufacturer and a major employer in the North West cross-border region having its main production facilities in Strabane. As well as supplying sportswear to teams across the globe, the company is continuing to develop its range of healthcare products and supply of PPE for health authorities across the island.

Kieran Kennedy, Managing Director, said the company has endeavoured to adapt its workplace facilities to help reduce the spread of infection. It continues to work closely with the Public Health Agency (PHA) and the Health and Safety Executive.

Mr. Kennedy said: “O’Neills have been following all of the public health measures to help protect our staff and customers since the outset of this crisis including maintaining social distancing, prominent signage, wearing face masks and personal hand sanitizers in the workplace. The company has also facilitated working from home arrangements where possible for staff.

“Unfortunately, community transmission across the island of Ireland and UK has seen a record spike in COVID-19 cases within the Derry City and Strabane District Council area where our production facilities are based.

“O’Neills have been extremely proactive with the protocols already put in place to help curb the spread of COVID-19 to protect ourselves, our families and our jobs. We have also recently taken a further lead by investing in COVID-19 rapid testing equipment to help provide reassurance for our staff. We are doing everything we can to help minimize the impact this epidemic is having on jobs in the North West.

“As cases in the community have continued to rise, we continue to communicate the message to staff that if anyone develops COVID-19 symptoms they must follow the guidance from the relevant public health bodies to self-isolate and book a free test immediately.”