The coming to an end of Ulster Rugby’s sponsorship deal with Kingspan has been welcomed by the Grenfell disaster’s bereaved and survivors group.
After two decades with the club, Kingspan has “signalled its intention” to conclude its association with the club on a phased basis by June 2025.
Ulster Rugby has been criticised for their continuing association with the firm following the Grenfell disaster when 72 people died in a fire at a residential tower block in west London in June 2017.
Kingspan was among firms who were criticised by the families of those who died in the blaze over supplying materials used in the block.
Its role was examined during the Grenfell Inquiry which is set to publish its final report later this year.
But Kingspan has insisted its K15 insulation product made up just 5 per cent of the insulation in the tower block and was used without its recommendation.
It also said the exterior cladding, which it did not make, was deemed by the inquiry to be the “principal reason” for the fire’s rapid spread.
The current agreement for the naming rights of Ulster Rugby’s home ground at Ravenhill in south Belfast and senior men’s shirt sponsorship is due to conclude at the end of the 2023/24 season.
Kingspan will remain on board for a 12-month transitionary period to facilitate Ulster Rugby’s search for a new sponsor.
Ulster Rugby chief executive Jonny Petrie thanked Kingspan for their investment in the club over a number of years, which he said “allowed us to build a strong foundation for the club in the future”.
“Kingspan has agreed to continue to support us through to June 2025 to allow for a seamless transition to a new sponsor, and we are now actively engaging in conversations with potential new partners for the end of next season onwards,” he said.
Kingspan’s global head of marketing Siobhan O’Dwyer said they wish Ulster Rugby “every continued success in the future”.
“20 years is a great innings and feels like a natural stepping off point. It has been our privilege to partner with Ulster Rugby, and we are pleased to continue that support during a transitionary phase to June 2025,” she said.
“We wish the club every continued success in the future and look forward to many more great games between now and the end of the 2024/25 season.”
Grenfell United, a bereaved and survivors group, welcomed the ending of the sponsorship deal with Ulster Rugby saying the partnership “sickened” them.
“Thank you to all our supporters, particularly those in Northern Ireland and the fans of the club who stood by us throughout this campaign, your support kept us going,” they said in a statement.