Huge boost as US firms create 500 permanent, skilled jobs
HUNDREDS of highly-skilled jobs have been announced by three major US multinationals as part of a multi-million euro investment.
The 500 permanent jobs are being created in Galway, Leixlip, Sligo and Cork with the support of the IDA.
The biggest project involves technology giant Hewlett Packard (HP), which is looking for 150 engineering and computer-science graduates, as well as experienced engineers, for research and development.
The firm is creating a further 130 technical and support roles, which will also require a third-level qualification.
Staff will be taken on in the west of the country and in HP's Leixlip base. The company said the value of the investment was €45m.
In Sligo, meanwhile, pharmaceutical group Abbott is to invest €85m and create 175 manufacturing positions.
An expansion at the company's Sligo facility will boost the production of new drugs for the treatment of cancer, chronic kidney disease and viral infections.
The permanent posts will be in engineering, quality control and pharmaceutical science while the investment will also create 150 temporary construction jobs before the site opens in 2014.
The healthcare company already employs around 4,000 people in Ireland.
According to the IDA, some of the jobs will come on stream as the company expands its facility, and the rest will be added in 2014.
In Cork, Big Fish Games is looking to recruit 30 software engineers to run the firm's first cloud-gaming catalogue, which enables people to access games on multiple devices and platforms.
"Much like Netflix changed the way we view movies today, allowing film entertainment to be accessed on over 800 devices, Big Fish's cloud-gaming service will transform the marketplace for premium casual entertainment by bringing our millions of mainstream customers that much closer to the thousands of wonderful games created by our in-house studios and game-development partners," said Big Fish CEO Jeremy Lewis.
More than 1,500 people are employed in the computer games industry in Ireland, and according to Mr Lewis, the announcement reinforces Ireland's reputation as a leading location for digital-media firms.
The jobs boost was announced as the Taoiseach used a special forum at New York University to lobby 100 executives and investors to put Ireland at the top of their business list.
The Invest in Ireland Forum at NYU had been arranged by former US president Bill Clinton after he attended the Global Irish Economic Forum in Dublin last October.
Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore and Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Minister Richard Bruton have also travelled to New York for a series of enterprise engagements to encourage investment by US firms with no base in Ireland.
Speaking from New York, IDA chief executive officer Barry O'Leary described it as "an excellent day" and said the announcements would highlight to "US business leaders the many advantages of investing in Ireland".
The HP jobs would not have been secured without "a collaborative approach" with IDA Ireland, said HP Ireland managing director Martin Murphy.
"Foreign direct investment is a very competitive space at the moment," he said. "We are competing with a lot of other countries to win jobs."
Dr Azita Saleki-Gerhardt, Abbott's president of global pharmaceutical operations, said: "The success of our Sligo facility is due to the dedication of its staff and management.
"This state-of-the-art expansion will enable us to produce innovative therapies that we expect will represent significant advances in the treatment of cancer, chronic kidney disease and viral infections."