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Ambassador praises Irish heritage in waste sector

Ireland’s ambassador to the UK has hailed a tradition of Irish families migrating to Britain to set up successful businesses in the waste industry.

Dan Mulhall called it an inspiring part of the ”story of Ireland” as he officially opened a £15m MRF and waste transfer station at Alperton, west London, operated by O’Donovan Waste Disposal.

Mulhall said it was the first time he had visited or opened such a plant but he was familiar with the history of the O’Donovan family.

Joe O’Donovan arrived in London from west Cork in the late 1950s and established the company in 1959. He died aged 51 in 1985 and his children, Michael, Anthony, Caroline and Jacqueline, now run the business.

Today, the company has 140 employees and a turnover of more than £16m.

Before he unveiled a plaque (pictured), Mulhall praised the efforts of Joe and his widow Kathleen to build a life in the UK .

“They had very little by way of financial resources or backing. But what they had was that Irish quality of determination, an ability to work hard and ambition,” he said.

“That story is the story of the Irish community in Britain. People came with very little but triumphed over their obstacles.”

The ambassador said the next generation of O’Donovans retained a strong sense of Irish identity and a love of Ireland which they were passing on to their own children.

  • The photo shows from left: Anthony, Jacqueline, Mulhall, Kathleen, Michael and Caroline.

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