Worker honoured for 50 years of loyal service 

January 27, 2014

Times change but some things stay the same – and that is exactly the case for Lislea man, Noel McParland, who this week notches up a staggering 50 years’ of continuous employment in Warrenpoint Port.

Noel (69), from Annaghcloughmullion, was just a teenager when he began his career as a driver in the docks in January 1964 and has witnessed many changes during his lengthy tenure in the seaside port.

He began his working life in the port for Irish Sea Ferries, which operated the first container service from Warrenpoint to Garston in Liverpool, and although the company changed hands many times during the ensuing years, Noel remained the only ever-present figure throughout this raft of changes.  His skills, organisation, professionalism and experience were seen as vital aspects that each company sought to keep, providing stability for their business ventures.

In January 2003 he decided to take the brave step of setting up his own shipping company and, together with business partner Ann Toner, established Armagh Logistics Ltd as shipping agents for timber and steel companies.

In his eleven years as director, he has also seen the company diversify into other cargoes such as coal, grain and RDF.  The company has not solely focused on the bulk trade either and Noel’s extensive experience and reliability in the container industry were called upon when C2C Lines and European Container Services began operating from Warrenpoint to Zeebrugge and Le Havre, and proved a vital asset to these companies, entrusting Armagh Logistics Ltd with the agency for their cargo and vessels.  Noel is now the main agent for Barrett Steel Ltd in Ireland as well as recently securing the agency for Re-Gen Waste.

Having dedicated 50 years of service to Warrenpoint Port, Noel still possesses the same drive, interest and enthusiasm for his work as he did back in 1964 when he first ventured into the docks as a fresh faced 19-year-old.

Peter Conway, the CEO of Warrenpoint Harbour Authority, congratulated Noel on his achievement: “Noel Mc Parland has been a very regular face around Warrenpoint Port for the past 50 years. Indeed the port has grown steadily over those years and Noel has played a major part in the success of many businesses in the Port.”

Recalling the early days, he said: “Noel started working in Warrenpoint when it was a much smaller port and handled mainly coal, imported timber and a small fledgling container service.

With major re-development in 1974 and other more recent investments, Warrenpoint Port has now grown to being the second general cargo port in Northern Ireland and the fifth on the island of Ireland.

“In this, the 40th year of the modern Port of Warrenpoint, we are happy to share our birthday with such a popular and committed port user.  Noel is very much liked and respected by all his colleagues working in the Harbour and on behalf of all of them I would like to say a big thanks for all the business he has brought to the Port over the past 50 years and wish him every success with his company, Armagh Logistics, for many more years to come,” he added.

It would seem his job is more of a vocation for work-mad Noel, who, according to his wife Anna, has no intentions of retiring, despite his family’s protests.

Aside from his work, he is an avid GAA fan and held the position of Treasurer of Mullaghbawn GFC when the club won the Ulster title in 1995.  He was also responsible for securing the sponsorship of Kersten Hunik – one of the companies he worked for in Warrenpoint – during this time. He also trained and managed successful underage teams with the club over the years, winning various trophies at a number of underage levels.

Noel is also a keen supporter of the annual Lislea Drama Festival, which is scheduled to get underway within the next few weeks, and has regularly contributed towards sponsorship of the festival since he established his company, Armagh Logistics.

Anna, together with their seven children and seven grandchildren, take this opportunity to congratulate Noel on reaching this significant landmark in his career and wish him health and happiness to continue enjoying it.