Patton employees to learn of company’s future

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THE staff of troubled Ballymena firm Patton are thought to be in line to hear more about the company’s future on Friday.

The firm admitted on Monday they were experiencing difficulties and were placed into administration on Tuesday.

The firm employs 320 people at present and has been a successful family business for the past century.

One of Northern Ireland’s leading economic experts who was brought up in Ballymena spoke to the News Letter earlier this week about his own personal shock at the difficulties facing the Patton construction firm and the wider implications for the economy.

Esmond Birnie, the chief economist with PricewaterhouseCoopers, said Patton’s difficulties were indicative of the uncertain future which the construction sector in Northern Ireland is facing.

“It has come as a big shock for many people, as Patton has been one of the major firms and employers for many years, and they certainly had been making a major effort to counteract the worst effects of the downturn in the construction sector by exporting their services,” said Mr Birnie.

“Maybe now is the time for more innovative thinking from Stormont with more of a focus on public and private developments.”