A Donegal company which normally makes packaging for food companies is now making up to one million face-shields a day in the fight against Covid-19.
RAP (Rapid Action Packaging), which is based on the Derrybeg Industrial Estate in Gaoth Dobhair, has switched production of their machines to help the fight against the spread of the virus.
The Udaras na Gaeltachta backed company normally supplies packaging for hundreds of companies around the globe including such names as Starbucks, McDonalds, British Airways, KFC, Asda and Sainsburys.
The workforce of almost 220 people produce almost 15 million food packaging each week which is shipped around the globe.
However, the arrival of the coronavirus meant orders dropped by up to 60% leaving the company facing a temporary crisis.
Production manager John McDermott and his staff worked tirelessly to produce a face shield that will hopefully supply not just the HSE in Ireland but other Governments and private bodies around the world.
“We’re very proud that we have the facilities here and the staff to produce this product. Never before have I had staff ask me if they could take products home with them for their family.
“Production has started fully now on the face shields and we can produce up to one million of them a day.
“We just have to hope that the demand for the products is there now,” he said.
Údarás na Gaeltachta’s CEO Mícheál Ó hÉanaigh said R.A. Pacáistí Teo. deserves huge praise for its efforts with the supply of PPE in the global campaign against COVID-19.
“It comes as no surprise to Údarás na Gaeltachta how innovative this company has been and how its design, processes and products have been repurposed in such a short period of time. This product, the single use face shield, will certainly be a very important piece of equipment for healthcare in Ireland and further afield.
“It adds to a number of our Gaeltacht client companies who are making a significant contribution to the national and international efforts to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 virus.”
Minister for Education, Joe McHugh, paid tribute to the company and its workers.
He said “This is incredible work and I want to pay tribute today to John McDermott and every member of his team in RAP in Gaoth Dobhair for their amazing innovation.
“RAP has switched its production and designed these masks to European standards and can produce one million shields per day and more if needed.”