THE country’s biggest food company today served up a massive employment boost that will create 1,300 jobs over the next four years.
The Kerry Group unveiled plans for a €100m global technology and innovation centre in Naas, Co Kildare.
The facility will be involved in research and "product innovation", according to Stan McCarthy from the Kerry Group, which is responsible for products such as Denny rashers and Dairygold butter.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore, Jobs Minister Richard Bruton and Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney all attended the launch in Dublin today.
Up to 800 jobs will be created by 2015, with an extra 100 coming the year after. A further 400 building jobs will also come with the construction of the 28-acre facility at the Millenium Park in Naas.
Mr Kenny said Kerry is a "world leader in food production" and said the Government is fully behind its plans. He added that the new centre will "act as an international magnet for our country".
Mr Gilmore said it is a great day for Ireland and Naas, and described Kerry Group as "world leader in the growing food business".
Kerry chief executive Stan McCarthy said the new centre would bring significant career development opportunities and would assist in accelerating graduate and early career development, talent management and training.
“The new centre will focus group-wide capability to drive strategic customer engagement and sustainable growth,” the chief executive said. He added that construction would begin early next year once planning was complete.
Kerry has grown from a tiny dairy operation into Ireland’s biggest company food company and the third biggest company on the stock exchange after Ryanair and CRH.
Headquartered in Tralee, the group employs more than 24,000 people in its manufacturing, sales, technology and application centres across Europe, North America, South America, Australia, New Zealand and Asia.