'There's a definite buzz about town over the news'
STUDENT Samantha Ryan (20) was "actually seriously considering emigrating" as she faced the prospect of unemployment in Dundalk.
Now she believes she won't have to as she is confident of her chances of getting a job with PayPal's growing operations in Ireland.
After she heard that the company was going to locate its European Operations Centre in Dundalk she said she "was delighted" that she has an alternative.
Dundalk currently has an unemployment rate of 18pc, which is above the national average of about 14pc.
Up to 20 of Samantha's family and friends have emigrated and she understands why.
She is originally from Dublin but has made her home in Louth, where she is a third-year public relations student in Dundalk Institute of Technology.
She says emigration "looks so appealing -- you see the sunshine and see you can make money . . . there is no work here.
"But if there are jobs here and money to be made here then you will stay here. If I got a job in PayPal I would take it, Ireland is my home after all," she said after hearing about the jobs boost.
Fellow student Lindsey Corrigan (20) agreed. "The jobs will attract a lot of young people. I was delighted when I heard the news and there is a buzz about the town today."
She said emigration has been the option for other students from Dundalk but "hopefully this news will bring it down".
The PayPal announcement was also widely welcomed because of its spin-off benefits.
The president of the Chamber of Commerce, Paddy Malone, said: "It will have a knock-on effect. There will be more money spent in the town and it is really the multiplier effect that makes this so significant.
"If you have a thousand jobs coming into Dundalk that also translates into close to another 3,000 spin-off jobs. So this is great news for the region stretching from Newry to Drogheda," he said.
The town has been let down in the past with promises of jobs that either did not materialise, or else the company involved closed down after a number of years. Mr Malone is confident that this will not happen with the PayPal investment.
"PayPal is a new company in a strong industry that is growing. It is a major expansion by a world player that is in it for the long haul. This is a completely different situation," he added.
The chairwoman of Dundalk Town Council, Councillor Marianne Butler, said: "Dundalk is not unusual among Irish towns and cities in having been hit badly by the recession but this development offers the hope that there can be better days to come for our town."