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Monday 27 February 2017

I wish every morning was like this, says Batt after jobs boost

Shane Hickey

IF only every day in his new job was this easy.

Batt O'Keeffe had a satisfied grin on his face on his first day as Enterprise, Trade and Innovation Minister as he announced the creation of 200 new hi-tech jobs.

"I wish every morning was like this morning -- my first day in office and a good announcement," he said while flanked by Finance Minister Brian Lenihan and Energy Minister Eamon Ryan.

The jobs will be created over the next three years when IBM opens a new 'Smarter Cities' research centre in north Dublin.

The new base in Mulhuddart, due to open at the end of this year, will house teams of experts who will work to improve urban planning in cities around the world.

The vote of confidence from IBM is the third hi-tech jobs announcement in recent days -- a sign of some green shoots in the Irish economy, according to the head of IDA Ireland.

Projects

"I would have to say that, fingers crossed, the pipeline is looking better than this time last year," IDA boss Barry O'Leary said.

IBM's centre will be a think-tank for local authorities, academics, and business leaders to devise ways of connecting transport, water and energy systems. These would include projects to identify which roads flood during a storm and where emergency trucks should be sent in response, said Dr Katherine Frase, a vice president at the global company.

She said the high-level PhD jobs would be likely to come from a global recruitment drive but all would be based in Ireland when the centre opens.

Mr O'Keeffe said the centre was a "good start" in the development of the "smart economy".

He said his focus in his new position would be on extending credit to businesses and putting in place a strategy for bringing more foreign direct investment into the country.

The jobs market has been bolstered in recent days with the announcement of new positions created by social networking site LinkedIn and online auctioneer eBay.

Irish Independent

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