WIT's 'NetLabs' centre to create 600 jobs by 2019
OVER 600 jobs will be created by a new Waterford centre that aims to fast-track research breakthroughs into money-spinning commercial products.
Education Minister Ruairi Quinn hailed the new TSSG 'NetLabs' operation at Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) as precisely the type of cutting-edge development Ireland wants to foster.
The Telecommunications, Software and Systems Group (TSSG) facility - based on WIT's western campus at Carriganore – opens with €5m in support funding from the EU 'Horizon 2020' fund. NetLabs said it hopes to support the creation of over 600 jobs throughout the south-east by 2019.
WIT president Dr Ruaidhri Neavyn said it was a very exciting project in a region in which the IDA and Government have already prioritised job creation.
"It's that type of initiative we want to tie into," he said.
"This type of investment helps drive new ideas, innovation ... enterprise activities."
Mr Quinn said the Government was acutely aware of the needs of the south-east region.
He pointed out that Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton and the IDA have overseen an extra 15,000 people in work in the region in the past 12 months.
Waterford's Mayor Cllr John Cummins said it was "a milestone" investment for the city and region.
"WIT has a hard-won and well-deserved reputation for excellence in the whole information and communications technology area, and some of the companies and ideas that have come out of TSSG since its formation are now enjoying real success in their sectors," he said.
"Developing new technologies and breakthrough innovations is the single best way that Waterford and the south-east can build a sustainable economic future as the jobs created will be deeply rooted, skills-based and far more likely to last over time." TSSG has been the major driver in the emergence of a telecommunications industry in the region over recent years.
WIT views the complex as a major asset to help drive R&D projects within the 10,000-strong student college.
However there was less positive news on the jobs front in Dublin, where pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb announced the closure of its facility in Cruiserath with the loss of 160 jobs.
Some 130 jobs will go here after manufacturing ceases at the plant at the end of 2015.
Another 30 jobs are to go at the company's other manufacturing facility in Swords, north Co Dublin, where a single operating unit will be wound down, also by the end of next year.
A spokesperson for the company said the closure of the unit was part of ongoing optimization in the company's manufacturing network. However it said another 300 jobs in Swords were secure.