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Small firm, big vision

Having forged a glowing reputation in the fields of haulage, servicing and school bus-route operation, Mount Leinster Haulage has branched into vehicle testing in recent times – and the company’s success continues to grow.

Mount Leinster haulage’s base in Bagenalstown

Mount Leinster Haulage is approaching its 30th anniversary, but the company is scarcely recognisable from that which first opened for business in 1980.
Back then, repairs was the name of the game but almost three decades on, the family-owned firm has flourished into several different areas of expertise.

Garage repairs and servicing still form a key component of the company’s day-to-day operations, but the company has diversified significantly into various different areas, from haulage to school-buses and, most recently, vehicle testing.
Bus Eireann was one of the company’s flagship customers from an early stage, and Mount Leinster Haulage made the most of its relationship with the national bus operator to become prominent in the area of school bus operations, with a number of buses currently on contract to Bus Eireann.

Edward Spruhan - Tester in the DOE Test Centre

Mount Leinster owner and managing director Eamonn Spruhan says: “It was a small garage business from 1980 or ’81, carrying out repairs and among plenty of other customers we did a bit of work for Bus Eireann, servicing buses, from about ’85.
“We got into the lorries around that time too, working for a local quarry and drawing sugar beet and grain, with Minch Malt one of the main clients for 25 years or so. We also do haulage work for a local firm KCT Transport.”
The company constructed its new premises at its Bagenalstown, County Carlow base in 2001, by extending its previous garage headquarters.

More than seven years on, the next phase in the history of Mount Leinster Haulage is on the verge of fruition.
The winter months are generally a quiet time for haulage, particularly so given the gloomy economic picture which has prevailed in the downturn of recent months. Far from falling victim to depression, however, the outlook is bright for Mount Leinster Haulage – particularly with a company name change on the horizon as it bids to give its vehicle testing centre pride of place at its new base.

The VTN Centre takes pride of place in the company’s operation

Mount Leinster’s advent into the sphere of vehicle testing has been quarter of a century in the making. Eamonn Spruhan elaborates: “Getting into testing was a thing I had in my mind since it came out first in 1982. It’s something we’ve always thought of doing – my father was a mechanic, and it’s something that was always in my head.

“The various different strands of the company helped in that respect. People came to us to get their vehicle tested and then said they hadn’t realised that we were doing garage work, and vice versa. So different aspects of the business have generated customers for other parts of it.”
Mount Leinster Haulage tests all manner of commercial vehicles, from light to heavy, with customers ranging from those who have already serviced their vehicles to those who go through the testing procedure first in order to determine the areas which require servicing.

Philomena O’Dwyer - Receptionist DOE Centre

It is now a little more than 18 months since Mount Leinster Haulage inaugurated its new Vehicle Testing Network centre, and Eamonn Spruhan is pleased with the way things have gone.
“It needed plenty of investment, in infrastructure, in equipment and in training,” he says. “You need to go into these things with your eyes open – you’re not going to make a profit from day one. It was always in our heads that it would take five years before you would be certain to get a return, but things are going well, we’re quite happy and we’re probably ahead of schedule on that.”
With the new Road Safety Authority (RSA) having come on stream in 2006, it would appear that Mount Leinster’s move into vehicle testing was well timed.

“The RSA definitely changed things,” says Eamon. “People who were involved in testing before that date probably had to do a good bit of upgrading to meet the new requirements. But we started in May 2007, so we were probably lucky with the timing of it.”
While vehicle testing is a key element of the burgeoning company, managed primarily by oldest son Edward, Mount Leinster still concentrates plenty of its energies on the other elements of the business.

Eamonn and wife Breda operate the school-buses while son Seamus is involved in the haulage side of the business and a third son, Cathal, is likely to move into the business when he finishes his time in college.
With a number of staff, Mount Leinster Haulage might appear small at first glance, but with expertise ranging across four different areas, its vision puts many other companies in the shade.

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