The Hidden Power of Mullingar – acting locally and impacting globally

By Rico Biriah

In 1967, Mullingar was developing and advancing enough to attract the Netherlands-based tobacco business of Douwe Egberts Van Nelle. Eager to dabble with manufacturing, the town embraced the new factory development on the Dublin Road with open arms.

It was an economic romance that paid off for nearly 50 years. Hundreds of quality jobs in roll-your-own tobacco directly supported local families and businesses for generations. In 1998, Douwe Egberts Van Nelle was bought by Britain’s second-largest cigarette company, Imperial Tobacco Group PLC.

But Mullingar’s successful marriage of convenience with the profitable tobacco industry never reached its golden anniversary. The health implications from smoking were becoming unacceptable and the European Union intervened with legislation. Imperial Tobacco exited the town in 2016 and 87 local jobs disappeared with them in a puff of smoke.

Fast forward to the present day, and the former tobacco factory site has risen like a phoenix from the ashes. The new owner, has made a multimillion-euro investment and rebranded it as the National Science Park.