Cook bullish on tax probe fears as he confirms 1,000 jobs
US tech giant Apple copper-fastened its long-term Irish future by confirming 1,000 new jobs, with the firm set to employ more than 6,000 workers in Dublin, Cork and Galway by 2017.
Apple chief executive Tim Cook confirmed the new jobs during a visit to Dublin and Cork where he addressed the firm's workforce.
Mr Cook stressed that Apple's huge Irish operation would not be impacted by the European Commission probe into the company's tax affairs. He confirmed that, in the case of any adverse EU ruling, Apple remained fully committed to Ireland and would support any potential Irish challenge to such a ruling.
Mr Cook earlier met with Taoiseach Enda Kenny in Dublin and visited Trinity College to receive a special award.
"We are expanding that [Cork workforce] to over 6,000 across the next year-and-a-half," Mr Cook said.
"This is our largest [facility] in Europe and it is also one of our most diverse offices operationally and culturally.
"In our offices in Cork you are as likely to hear French or German or Italian accents as you are to hear an Irish accent from Co Cork or Co Kerry."
The 35-year-old Apple plant at Hollyhill in Cork has a workforce of 5,000 - having expanded by almost 25pc over the past 12 months. It will now extend into a council land bank which had, for the past 20 years, operated as a Traveller halting site.
The California-based firm was once tipped to wind down its Leeside operation after iMac production was shifted to the Czech Republic and South Korea in 1999.
However, Mr Cook was yesterday welcomed to the Cork plant by Apple Operations Europe boss Cathy Kearney. To mark the occasion, New York band A Great Big World performed a special set inside the facility.
The Taoiseach hailed the announcement as a massive boost. "It is a welcome sign of the broadening regional recovery. These new jobs come on top of 1,000 jobs already created at Apple in the past 12 months, which brought the workforce in Ireland to over 5,000 in 2015," Mr Kenny said.
Speaking to the Irish Independent at the announcement of 300 new jobs at the Dublin EMEA headquarters for Indeed.com, IDA chief executive Martin Shanahan said it was a great endorsement of Ireland Inc.
"I think we can say with absolute conviction that Ireland is a tech hub," he said. "I think what this shows is Apple's commitment to Ireland."
Since 2012, Apple has spent €120m on its Cork plant and is battling to cope with surging global demand for its products ranging from iPods and iPads to iPhones and iWatches.
The Cork expansion followed Apple's confirmation earlier this year of a €850m data centre in Galway with 100 jobs.
Cork Chamber of Commerce president Barrie O'Connell said it was an historic day. "The commitment of Apple to the Cork region since 1980 coupled with the vision of the local Apple management team to broaden its range of value-add activities over time sends a powerful signal that Cork is a prime location for the growth and expansion of global business," he said.
Defence Minister Simon Coveney said it was "fantastic news" and a major morale boost for Cork and Ireland.
Cork TD Michael McGrath said Ireland won the jobs despite intense competition from overseas rivals