APPLE chief executive Tim Cook has held a private meeting with Taoiseach Enda Kenny to discuss the potential for future development at the company's Irish base.
The meeting was held in Cork as the city celebrated 1,000 new jobs in just seven days. The US computer giant confirmed 500 new jobs for Ireland last year – boosting their workforce to almost 3,300 and making them rivals with Intel (4,000) and Hewlett-Packard (4,000) to be Ireland's largest multinational employer.
While no further new jobs were announced by Apple, Mr Kenny said the future looks bright for Ireland with the economic recovery gaining pace.
Mr Cook, who took over as Apple boss from company founder Steve Jobs, is understood to have been very pleased with the Cupertino firm's Irish operation.
The private meeting with Mr Kenny was aimed at discussing Apple's existing Irish operation and the potential for future development.
Once a major manufacturing hub for Apple, the firm's Cork operation bounced back from losing iMac and other computer production in 2001/2002 to emerge as one of Apple's most important R&D, sales, service and technical support centres.
Apple is currently battling to keep pace with soaring worldwide demand for their products, including the new iPad 2, the iPhone 5 and iCloud services.
Meanwhile, Mr Kenny hailed Ireland's economic recovery as he announced a further 200 new jobs in Cork. The jobs are being created at Westbourne IT in Blackpool and HedgeServ in Mahon.
Westbourne is creating 50 new jobs as it doubles its workforce, though the firm expressed confidence it could expand to over 200 employees by 2017. HedgeServ is to create 150 new jobs through a new business services centre.
The investments bring to over 1,000 the number of new jobs announced for Cork in just seven days. The other jobs are being created by Tyco (500), BioMarin (100), Tyndall/Photonics (200) and Global Reviews (30).
"This is a great day for Cork and for Ireland. It is also proof that Ireland is a very attractive location for investment," Mr Kenny said.
He also paid tribute to the IDA for its success in bringing inward investment to Ireland.