Waterford’s oldest building firm, J. & M. Hearne Ltd., is to close after 150 years of business.

Mr. John Hearne, whose great grandfather, also John, founded the iconic company at a yard off Lombard St., has decided the time has come to call closure. He has reached retirement age and the death of his younger brother Michael 14 months ago was the deciding factor.

“If Michael was still alive he would continue but sadly that’s not the case and with nobody else in the family to follow on it’s time for me to wind down”, he commented. Located latterly at Belvedere Business Centre in the upper city, having also had its headquarters at South Parade and College St., the company currently employs 15 people but had huge numbers on its payroll down the years.

Hearne’s traditionally concentrated its energies on fulfilling government contracts and is responsible for many of Waterford’s best known buildings, including Mount Sion Schools and the ESB complex at Gracedieu.

“My grandfather’s pride and joy was the extension and renovation of Killarney Cathedral, including construction of its spire which is among the highest in the country”, recalled John.

He is lavish in praise of his workforce who have given him full support. “They have been excellent and will have no difficulty finding alternative employment”, he predicted.

Closure will be later in the year, with Mr. Hearne unable to be specific as to the exact date.