Northern Ireland

Ulster Rugby agrees extension with Kingspan despite Grenfell Tower controversy

Kingspan holds the naming rights to Ulster Rugby’s stadium in Belfast (PA)
Kingspan holds the naming rights to Ulster Rugby’s stadium in Belfast (PA)

Ulster Rugby has agreed an extension to its on-shirt sponsorship deal with Kingspan – despite controversy over the firm’s products being used in Grenfell Tower.

Some 72 people died in a fire at the west London tower block in 2017.

The Irish insulation firm is Ulster Rugby’s shirt sponsor and also holds naming rights to its home stadium in Ravenhill, south Belfast.

In a statement, Ulster Rugby confirmed the extension, “which will see Kingspan remain on the senior men’s jersey, and selected leisurewear, for the upcoming season”.

It said: “The Irish-owned business has an existing 10-year contract with the club until the end of the 2023/24 season for the naming rights of Kingspan Stadium.”

Read more: Kingspan insulation product used on Grenfell Tower failed 2007 fire test

Ulster Rugby Stadium graffiti

Graffiti on the wall and entrance gates of Ulster Rugby Stadium in Belfast (PA)

The Grenfell Inquiry into the blaze previously heard evidence criticising Kingspan’s business practices.

But Kingspan has insisted its K15 insulation product made up just 5% 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 UK Government wrote to Ulster Rugby in 2021 to ask it to reconsider its relationship with Kingspan while the inquiry continues.

In 2022, protesters demonstrated outside the team’s stadium to demand the club severs ties with the company.

And in 2023, police launched an investigation after graffiti referencing Grenfell Tower was painted on the Kingspan stadium.