Intel's €3.6bn investment to give Irish plant 'leading edge'
Intel has revealed that it invested €3.6bn ($5bn) in its Irish plant over the last three years – the largest industrial investment in the history of the State.
The chip giant also said that it has invested €9.1bn ($12.5bn) in the facility over the last 25 years and that it now employs 9,500 people at its Leixlip campus.
This includes the 5,000 construction workers fabricating a new manufacturing facility.
The total workforce at Intel Ireland now exceeds the population of towns such as Gorey, Nenagh and Longford.
Flanked by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore, Intel president Renee James said that the company intended to make the Leixlip campus Intel's "leading edge" facility.
"We have a fabulous relationship with Ireland," she said. "To be considered leading edge within Intel is prestigious."
Intel's country manager, Eamon Sinnott, told the Irish Independent that the Leixlip facility is gearing up for "the next 25 years" and is in a "prime position" to win further investment from Intel when it arises.
The company is due to decide shortly on where it is to locate a new manufacturing process facility, with Ireland said to be in competition with Israel and the US for the investment.
"It's been a constant question and we have to develop a capability and the confidence to demonstrate that we're capable of doing this," said Mr Sinnott. "But I've never been more confident in our future here than I am today.
"When you look at the facility that we've developed here, we will remain in pole position to continue our track record of the past 25 years."
In January 2013, the company secured planning permission for a further manufacturing facility in anticipation of new investment into Ireland.
However, the company's main executives have not yet decided where a new plant is to be located. Should it choose Ireland, it could result in a further multi-billion-euro investment and a top-up in skilled jobs for the facility.
At present, all of Intel's Irish manufacturing facilities have paused production while the facilities are upgraded. Mr Sinnott declined to specify the exact microprocessors to be made at the updated factories. He said that it would include chips for PCs, servers, data centres, smartphones and tablet computers.
The upgraded processor factories are expected to start production at the beginning of 2015.
"At a time of continuing high unemployment in Ireland, the creation of 5,000 additional, indirect jobs through the construction phase, along with the underpinning of the 4,500 existing jobs at the Leixlip facility, is a huge boost not just to this region but to the entire Irish economy and particularly to the construction sector," said Mr Kenny.
Intel has been hit by falling global personal computer sales and a failure to capitalise on the growth of smartphones and tablets.
Last year, it launched a new range of microprocessors designed in Ireland, targeted for use with everyday objects in the so-called 'internet of things'.
The so-called internet of things is a buzzword in the technology sector for the idea that every element of life from our fridges and cars to our watches will be linked to one another through the internet and be capable of being controlled remotely.