Firm pledges 5,000 jobs in 'centre of excellence'
THE Government has sought detailed plans from an ambitious company that claims it can create almost 5,000 pharmaceutical jobs.
Pharmadel, based in Tralee, Co Kerry, is in negotiations with local authorities about finding a location for an International Centre of Excellence, with a potential €4.5bn investment.
The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation said Minister Batt O'Keeffe had met the pharmaceutical manufacturer in Cork last May to discuss the plans.
"Pharmadel gave a brief outline of its proposal and we await a more detailed submission before our agencies would become involved," said a spokesperson.
It is understood the proposal is at a very early stage and it is unclear where the funding will come from.
A project team has been set up in Tralee to lobby for the location of the centre. A 26.8-acre former Amann Industries factory site in Tralee, which closed last year with the loss of more than 300 jobs, is one of the locations being considered.
Known as the Global Pharmaceutical Centre of Excellence, it would employ graduates in science, pharmaceuticals, engineering and IT alongside nurses, doctors, secretarial and administrative staff.
Sources said 4,380 graduates, 116 academics and 321 management executives would be hired.
It is understood the centre would have 30 campuses with a target opening date set for 2012.
Sinn Fein TD for Kerry North Martin Ferris said if successful, the development would be a monumental achievement for the area, and Ireland.
"I would urge people to remain cautious because this is at a delicate stage and nothing is delivered on yet," he said.
"A lot of work has already gone into it, but a lot more will have to be done before we can be sure this will come off."
Mr Ferris and other local TDs held talks with the investors last Friday.
Kerry North Fine Gael TD Jimmy Deenihan said the project was "very much in its infancy".
"If it is to come to fruition, it will require massive government agency support," he said.
The unemployment rate in Tralee is 26pc, double the national average.