The story of McAuliffe trucking started back in the seventies when Jack McAuliffe owned a pig farm. He bought a truck and put a tank on the back of it to draw whey for the pigs.
From then on, McAuliffe Transport hit the road as Jack purchased some more lorries and to this day, the company still draws whey for Kerry Co-op.
In 1992, Jack McAuliffe sadly passed away and at just 25-years-old, his son Mike took over the responsibility of the business. Based in Fahaduff, Castleisland, Co. Kerry, he has continued to grow the enterprise ever since and the haulage company is well known throughout Ireland and Europe.
Orla is the daughter of Mike McAuliffe and is helping to bring the company forward as co-transport manager, however, she does have her haulage licences and will drive the lorries on occasion.
“Dad was thrown into the deep-end a bit when grandad passed away, luckily we have great staff and the other transport manager, Declan Mangan was with us from the early days and has stayed with us all this time.”
“He would have been a great help to dad and me with advice and guidance,” explained Orla. Declan would have started out as a mechanic in the workshop but has worked his way up to a management position.
With seventeen trucks, there are eighteen drivers, including relief drivers that take to the roads every day. “We wouldn’t be anything without our drivers, they are very good for us and we appreciate their work,” said Orla.
Orla’s father followed Jack’s lead and now owns four pig farms and keeps some cattle also.
Some years ago, he and other pig farmers from the area created a brand called Truly Irish, as they felt that the quality of pork in Ireland had deteriorated, so they brought out their own brand of pork meats to improve the quality of Irish pork products.
Orla had shown an interest in the business from an early age. She would work there during school holidays in the office and was a full-time employee at the company when she left college.
Orla moved on to work at Kerry Motor works, where she gained invaluable experience during her year there.
“It was great to get to work somewhere else and see how things were run in a different family business,” said Orla who returned to McAuliffe’s in a more senior context, where she joined Declan as a transport manager.
One of three siblings, she has an older brother Shane, who works for Easyfix and a younger sister Natasha who is a third-level student. Orla completed her degree in Business with Marketing in IT Tralee.
There are many different facets to the business and Orla’s main area would be working with the trucks that travel to the continent. They have one, and sometimes two refrigerated trucks that travel overseas each week. McAuliffe Trucking is involved in livestock transport, liquid transport, refrigerated and bulk transport.
There is a lot of variation in the company as Orla describes, “we have a mill in the piggery and Declan is heavily involved in that side of the business, whereas Orla monitors the tachograph regulations and the CVR testing of the fleet alongside the transport management.
Orla knew that she wanted to be a part of the business for a long time and qualified for her rigid licence at the age of 21 and then subsequently qualified with an articulated licence a year after that.
Orla will happily go out and relieve some of the drivers if the opportunity arises, “I don’t think that I would be cut out for driving full time” smiled Orla, “I would like to be able to do both, but at the moment, it’s just not possible”.
The company houses a fleet of DAF trucks. Even though McAuliffe’s really like the DAF vehicles, enjoy the great back-up service and have a long-standing relationship with their dealer, they decided to purchase a new Scania S650 from T Nolan & Son’s garage in Castleisland to test its merit.
The new truck is not on the road yet as it has been in the shop to be airbrushed. It will have a mermaid theme that Orla designed herself.
“There is a different theme on all our trucks, we have been invited to Truckstar Festival in Holland to show off the airbrushing. “It’s a great achievement and I feel a great sense of pride” she enthused. Seán Egan from Wexford completed the work.
There is usually animal themes, however, one special lorry a DAF 152, has a picture of her grandfather and company founder, Jack McAuliffe airbrushed onto the side. “It’s a tribute to him and the old Bedford truck that he started out with.”
Orla will continue her grandfather’s legacy, like her father before her, into the future. She is quite happy at the moment and loves to see the business thrive. The popular haulage company has been flourishing for the past 40 years and there is no sign of it stopping yet.
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