13 July 2012 One Comment by The Northern Standard

By Patsy McArdle

THE South Monaghan-based coach hire company, Matthews Coaches of Inniskeen achieved new heights of prestigious success this week by winning an Olympic contract, in London, to transport the world’s top athletes to the Games, in the English capital.
The Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Leo Varadkar congratulated the company on Sunday last as “the only transport firm in the Republic to have secured such a contract” .
On Monday morning Matthews Coaches sent fifteen of their vehicles, along with thirty drivers, to operate in the Greater London area for the duration of the Games, until August 15th.
Matthews is a hugely successful expanding transport company, which employs 72 people and has a fleet of 35 vehicles across commuter, tour, and corporate hire services.
“The economic spin-offs of the Olympic Games become apparent when we see an innovative company like Matthews flying the flag for Ireland,” said Minister Varadkar.
“The Government has worked hard to ensure that Ireland enjoys the full benefit from the Olympic Games being staged in the UK. Fifteen countries have already chosen Ireland as a training base in the run-up to the Olympic and Paralympic Games”
“It’s great to see Irish companies like Matthews benefiting from the games as well.”
Matthews Coaches is the only Irish transport company to employ alcolock devices in its fleet.
It is also set to become the first transport company in Europe to achieve the new ISO 50001 management system accreditation.
Matthews Coach Hire was founded in 1995 by the well known husband and wife team of Paddy and Mary Matthews.
Matthews is also National (SEAI) Energy Efficiency Award winners for major users, thanks to their EcoDrive training, fuel management systems and procedures.
Alcolock devices are connected to a vehicle’s ignition system and activated by the driver blowing into a tube. These locks prevent a vehicle’s engine starting—if a driver’s alcohol level exceeds a pre-set safety limit!.
Our reporter Veronica Corr spoke to proprietor Paddy Matthews this week:
In early 2009, Mr. Matthews attended a TCTC meeting at which members were informed of upcoming business opportunities, the Olympics being one of them. Paddy expressed interest in this as he felt it would be a way of keeping the entire fleet mobilized during the summer, both home and away. Much of Matthews’ business comes from students and since schools and colleges are off for the summer, he thought that it would be a good way of keeping the drivers in work until the educational year starts up again.
At the end of 2009 Matthews Coach Hire were required to
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complete a pre-qualification tender where the company had to outline its capabilities. There then followed an official tender. Paddy says that the tender was pretty tough, but that all the preparation paid off.
Matthews Coach Hire was informed that they had won the contract twelve month ago, but had to keep the news under wraps until the Minister’s announcement. There then began an intensive course of training for management and staff alike, the former taking place in at Ulster Bus in the North and the latter on-site in Inniskeen.
Although the Olympic Games do not start until July 27th, this will be a busman’s holiday, as the drivers will not be idle in the meantime. They will start training and learning routes over in London straight away before beginning to transport athletes from A to B. Paddy says that the drivers are settling in nicely and although they were naturally apprehensive heading off, they were excited at the same time. The thirty drivers and the fifteen coaches will spend six weeks at London 2012 and are expected back in Inniskeen on Wednesday, August 15th.
Mr. Matthews says he will probably not be going over to London himself, as organisers over there have everything under control. The drivers are also extremely well prepared. He feels that it is important to concentrate on the business at home, which is the company’s bread and butter. Although students do provide a lot of the coach firm’s business, Paddy says that he has noticed an increase in other commuters since the recession too.
“We only started out in 1995, with one minibus, bought from Tommy Leonard in Newbliss, so there was definitely a tear in my eye as the convoy left the yard. I never thought anything like this would ever come out of Inniskeen, Kavanagh Country. We came from humble beginnings to this, in the worst recession ever. The Olympics is a once in a lifetime opportunity for us. The phones haven’t stopped ringing and the answering machines were backed up this morning with messages of good will,” Paddy said.
Matthews Coach Hire intends to maintain its position at the cutting edge of innovation and it hopes to keep the good news coming.
A vote of congratulations was conveyed to Matthews Coach Hire at Monday’s meeting of Carrickmacross Town Council, on being awarded the Olympic contract.
Cavan/Monaghan Fine Gael TD Heather Humphrey’s also congratulated the Inniskeen Company on its achievement.
She said:
“Matthews are an indigenous company based here in Monaghan and this is a very positive news story for the county. Of course, securing a contract of this size does not happen by accident and it is testament to the innovation that is present at Matthews that they took the step of installing the alcolock devices in their coaches and they are also set to be the first transport company in Europe to achieve the ISO 50001 management system accreditation. I would like to wish the company every success during their time in London and I have no doubt that they will represent County Monaghan very well,” said Deputy Humphreys.

One Comment »

  • Aardvark Bus Hire said:

    Great post. Such a good thing when an Irish business gets the recognition it deserves.
    I think the Alcolock device is also a great innovation. Not sure whether it inspires confidence in the drivers though?
    Still a great idea though