'Future is secure for EMPG's research centre'
EMPG's €350m R&D centre in Dublin, announced to huge fanfare by Tanaiste Mary Coughlan in September 2008, will not be affected as the publishing giant restructures it finances, the company insisted last night.
It is understood that 200 people work in the Dublin city centre office, with plans to hike the overall figure to 450 over the next four years.
"The R&D centre is not affected by the refinancing," said one source. "In fact, the project is currently delivering ahead of schedule."
The Barry O'Callaghan-led company said in a statement: "EMPG will continue to create jobs and hire people in Ireland, where we will maintain our headquarters for digital products research and development."
It added that the restructuring discussions "have no adverse affect on our day-to-day operation, on our employees, or on the nature and quality of the services we provide to our customers and business partners."
Ireland fended off strong competition from locations in the US, Singapore and the Gulf States to seal the investment from the publishing giant a year and a half ago.
It is understood that Enterprise Ireland provided EMPG with a €30m-plus support package to set up the centre here -- the biggest in the history of the state body.
The standard grant is just €650,000. The deal followed a year of negotiations between EMPG's main subsidiary, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) and the Government.
Fiona O'Carroll, senior vice president of digital product R&D at HMH, said at the time that the group was looking to tap Ireland's "leading position in the skills sets that we are going to be working with, such as high-end software design and development, animation, instructional design and pedagogy".