Northern Ireland’s largest family-owned new and used vehicle dealership, the Donnelly Group, has celebrated its 70th anniversary with a glittering event for manufacturers, partners, customers and staff in the Armagh City Hotel.
Since its beginnings in 1947, when Peter Donnelly opened a vehicle repair and taxi business in Caledon, County Tyrone, the business has experienced huge growth now boasting eight locations across Northern Ireland, 19 manufacturers and an annual turnover of £300 million.
The special event was hosted by local mentalist, David Meade, who entertained guests before interviewing a range of guests including Peter’s sons, Executive Chairman of the Donnelly Group Terence Donnelly and Director Raymond Donnelly.
The interview panels provided an enlightening glimpse into the company’s past, present and future.
Terence Donnelly said: “The last 70 years have seen vast changes in the motor trade industry, and from our humble beginnings our business has expanded at pace now employing over 700 people across our eight locations in Northern Ireland.
"Despite industry and technological changes, our ethos and values have remained the same since 1947, and that involves keeping the customer central to everything we do.
“We are dedicated to providing quality vehicles at the right price for our customers, all whilst delivering an impeccable service from purchase to aftersales.
“In addition to our dealership locations, it is an exciting time for TBC – Taxi and Bus Conversions – as they continue to expand on their efforts over the last decade.”
David Donnell, Managing Director of TBC, commented: “Since launching in 2006, TBC has gone from strength to strength working with key manufacturer partners to serve the needs of various sectors including adaptations for mobility adaptations, taxi and bus as well as specialist projects – built and delivered with intelligence, empathy and care.”
Raymond Donnelly continued: “It is very exciting to be celebrating our 70th anniversary, it really is an ‘MOT’ for the Donnelly Group, a ‘Moment of Time’ in our history. We have recently announced plans for a £6 million-pound expansion of our site in Dungannon to facilitate our new 19th manufacturer, Jaguar Land Rover, which will create a number of jobs when complete and which will be the only premium brand outlet anywhere in mid-Ulster.
We are now the largest family-owned motor business in Northern Ireland, with new vehicles from 19 manufacturers, as well as our used car Motorstores, which have over 1,200 used cars at six of our eight convenient locations across the province.”
Donnelly & Taggart Director, Houston Taggart, added: “Our anniversary event was a fantastic day to gather staff, past and present, manufacturing partners and loyal customers to thank them for their support and it was a great opportunity to officially welcome our new Managing Director, Dave Sheeran, on board at Donnelly Group. Our staff, partners and customers have helped build the company to what it is today and we look forward to the future with them.”
Dave Sheeran brings with him over 30 years’ experience in the motor industry, having most recently held the Managing Director position at Opel Ireland.
Dave said: “The Donnelly Group is an institution in the local motoring sector and I’m thrilled to be a part of the team as we celebrate this mammoth milestone. Over the last 70 years the Group has established itself as the leading, local, family-owned vehicle supplier and we are ready to continue to provide our outstanding level of service to customers across Northern Ireland for the next 70.
“Our dedicated team of experts are ready to help and advise customers across all eight of our showrooms. We now have more brands and models available than ever before and our award-winning teams are ready to find the vehicles that suit your needs and budgets.”
The Donnelly Group employs over 700 people in its eight locations in Ballymena, Belfast (Boucher Road), Dungannon Moy Road, Dungannon M1 Complex, Eglinton, Enniskillen, Newtownabbey and Omagh.