300 new food sector jobs announced
More than 300 new jobs were announced today in the food sector as the Government faced damning criticism over unemployment.
Fast food giant McDonald's is to create 250 posts in a €12m expansion, opening three restaurants in greater Dublin and one other outside the capital.
And leading Australia healthcare business Probiotec will take on 70 workers when its European headquarters opens in Dundalk, Co Louth.
Tanaiste Mary Coughlan said the new manufacturing plant reaffirmed Ireland's reputation for excellence in the food sector.
"This project will also add significant value to locally sourced raw materials, particularly dairy ingredients," she said.
"It also says a lot about the very high regard for the Irish food sector across the globe."
The McDonald's expansion will take its Irish workforce to 3,850.
John Atherton, McDonald's Ireland managing director, said the company's investment was significant for staff and local suppliers.
"This expansion of our Irish operations and the creation of these jobs highlights the resilience of our business, despite the recession, and demonstrates that the core fundamentals of the McDonald's proposition for the customer are stronger and more relevant than ever," he said.
McDonald's said it planned further openings next year and again in 2012 and that recruitment for the first 250 positions would begin in July of this year.
The Probiotec Dundalk plant will produce a range of dietary and meal replacement products, branded as Celebrity Slim, for the European market. It is expected to generate sales of more than €30m over the next three years.
The food sector in Ireland employs about 46,000 people and adds €8bn to the economy.
Meanwhile, a third investment by Apple computer reseller Compu B is to create about two dozen jobs at a new store in Dublin.
The latest official Live register figures showed almost 437,000 people are now signing on for benefits with the unemployment rate at 12.6pc.
Reetta Suonpera, economist with business lobby group Ibec welcomed the jobs announcement.
"Though labour market conditions will remain difficult throughout 2010, the worst of the job losses appears now to be behind us. This will help stabilise consumer confidence and spending," she said.