STRABANE’S iconic ‘Tinnies’ statues have been scrubbed up by O’Neills in recognition of the heroic work carried out by frontline healthcare staff during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Co. Tyrone based sportswear manufacturer, who have recently been making PPE for health services across Ireland, dressed ‘The Tinnies’ in scrubs and a gown to thank health and social care workers battling against Covid-19.
Kieran Kennedy, Managing Director of O’Neills, said the gesture was timely following the recent news that all patients with Covid-19 had been discharged from intensive care at Altnagelvin Hospital.
“The Western Trust announced on Thursday that there are currently no patients with COVID-19 in ICU at Altnagelvin Hospital. This news came as a huge sigh of relief for many people in the North West as we move to the ‘new normal’ whilst adhering to the public health guidelines aimed at stopping the spread of this devastating virus,” he said.
Officially known as ‘Let The Dance Begin’ sculpture, the fives statues measuring around six metres tall, were affectionately nicknamed ‘The Tinnies’ by locals when created by acclaimed North West artist Maurice Harron to celebrate the new millennium.
Mr Kennedy said ‘The Tinnies’ were one of the most distinctive pieces of sculpture in the region and had become a unifying symbol for Strabane over the last 20 years.
“The Tinnies have donned the red and white of the Tyrone GAA team in the past but now it’s time for us to thank our heroic frontline healthcare staff for their incredible work treating patients during the pandemic,” he said.
“O’Neills are delighted once again to put our manufacturing skills to use in creating these special large-scale scrubs, gown and masks in sky blue, maroon, and navy to dress Strabane’s most iconic sculpture in recognition of all our frontline workers.
“We think ‘The Tinnies’ look fantastic in their scrubs and we hope the many people passing by in the coming days and weeks enjoy admiring them as much as we do.”
Mr Kennedy added: “I am also so proud of our own team, the values we live by in O'Neills are loyalty, flexibility, commitment and passion and it's these values that have been driving us through our greatest ever challenge during this global pandemic. The innovation and drive of indigenous businesses is inspiring, and we will continue to do everything we can together with the support of our local communities in stepping up to assist the healthcare sector.”
A banner was also erected on ‘The Tinnies’ site between Strabane and Lifford, Co. Donegal, saying ‘Thank You To All Our Frontline Workers’.
Established in Dublin in 1918, O’Neills is now the largest sportswear manufacturing company on the island of Ireland, supplying jerseys and sports gear for the vast majority of GAA county and club teams as well as soccer, rugby and cricket.
As well as its state-of-the-art production facilities in Dublin, Strabane and Derry, O’Neills also operate a number of retail stores in Strabane, Derry, Belfast, Newry, Craigavon, Magherafelt, Enniskillen and Dublin.