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O’Leary Plant Hire Services

For the last 16 years, Gerard O’Leary Plant Hire Services has been providing an efficient trade from their Mallow base in north Cork to customers from all over. Managing Director, Gerard O’Leary, spoke to Irish Trucker about how he first came to take over the company, the services that they provide and their hopes for the future in these current difficult economic times.

For most of his life, Gerard O’Leary has been involved with the plant hire company which his family built up from when he was a young age. Although his grandfather first started operations a lifetime ago from the current base in Mallow, Gerard was helping out his father in whatever way he could in his teens.
In 1993, he found his calling. After only entering into adulthood, Gerard was given the burden of his family’s company to carry on his shoulders.

“I was 18 when I took over from my father,” he explained. “He had a heart problem and had to give work a rest, so I came in and done my best to keep the company running. Thankfully, we’re still here today and working away with some of the same customers we’ve had for over 15 years now.”
When Gerard first took the reins of O’Leary Plant Hire Services Ltd, the Mallow outfit were largely involved in livestock haulage. The company’s trucks would haul cattle from all over Cork and deliver to areas of neighbouring counties Kerry, Clare, Limerick and Waterford and beyond. Since then O’Leary’s have grown into something different, developing over time to meet the demands of a very competitive market.

At this present time, the company employs almost 20 full-time workers and have a large and modern fleet to work with, with Gerard insisting that up to 20 trucks would have been purchased and traded on his company’s behalf down the years.
“In 1993 we were a livestock haulage company, but by 2000 we were getting into the tipper haulage in a big way. We’ve now managed to grow into a tanker haulage business as well,” said Gerard.
“I think you need to vary your services in order to remain competitive and we’ve done that in the last few years to attract new customers and gain work where ever it can be found.”

In these tough times, Gerard has a very good point. However, his company had been varying their services before the economic downturn and that’s probably why they are still in business and boasting some loyal customers.
At this moment in time, O’Leary Plant Hire Services are specialising in tippers, tanker and rock-breaking, but to name a few of the services they have adopted to keep the company solvent.
The Whelan Group have been one of the loyal customers to O’Leary Plant Hire since Gerard took over operations in 1993. As one of the largest independent Quarry and Concrete Products suppliers in Ireland, their headquarters are in Ennis, where O’Leary’s make many deliveries to, but it is the company’s bases in Cork from which such a good working relationship has grown between both parties.
With bases in Glanworth and Carrigtwohill, the Whelan Group are well established around Leeside, but it’s their limestone quarry in Copstown, Mallow which O’Leary’s have travelled to and from to provide their services for over 15 years.

“The Whelan Group have been with us since I took over in ’93 and are probably one of the biggest customers we have. We’ve done an awful lot for them down the years and I’m very grateful that they have stuck with us for so long,” said Gerard.
“To start off doing work for a company like them was a major boost when I started here, and I’d just like to acknowledge them here. They have been loyal to us and in return we’ve tried to provide them with the best service we possibly could. Hopefully, we can continue the relationship into the next decade and even further on from that.”
Another Mallow company which O’Leary’s are proud to do business with is North Cork Co-op Creameries. For seven years now, O’Leary Plant Hire Services have been providing curtainsider and general haulage for the dairy produce merchants, who are based in Kanturk.
While the Whelan Group and North Cork Co-op Creameries have been two of many outfits to avail of O’Leary’s services, recently things have taken a turn for the worst on the construction front in this country which has effected so many, including O’Leary Plant Hire Services Ltd.

“Of course some of the other companies have been wiped out by the recession and that’s why it’s though on a business like ours, because we rely on others for work,” Gerard admitted.
“We just have to try and ride it out as best we can and hope by the time things turn around that we are able to bounce back and start to get more and more work. This year sales and services have been down – the same as most Plant Hires all over Ireland have been – but we just feel we need to stick it out for as long as possible and be ready for when business starts to really pick up again.”
Mallow is expected to receive a boost next year when work on the new M20 motorway gets underway, which is set to involve upgrading the N20 route between Cork and Limerick. Mallow will be a southbound exit on the new motorway, which is now in planning and aims to link Letterkenny to Waterford via Limerick and Cork.

“There are a few major projects happening next year that hopefully we can get some work from. The new M20 motorway being one and the Limerick to Nenagh road being another,” said Gerard.
“We have the equipment to help provide for those projects when it comes to our dumper truck fleet and we will certainly be looking to get involved at the earliest stage next year. We have had a couple of things this year to keep us going, including a tunnel project and a housing development, but we’ll have to keep looking for more and more into 2010.”
With an efficient service and top class machinery, not too many are bound to look past O’Leary Plant Hire Services when looking to carry out work around the Mallow area. The Whelan Group heard the good word all the way from Ennis and have been availing of O’Leary’s services ever since.

Now, with whispers of an upturn on the horizon, Gerard hopes that his company can be out in front first to make up for rough times. His family history shows that it’s in his blood to guide his company upwards, and let’s not forget that he has transformed the face of O’Leary’s for the good since taking over the company at the tender age of 18.
What the future holds for O’Leary Plant Hire Services we can only wait and see, but the smart money is on Gerard and co prospering again when the recovery comes.

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