HUNDREDS of new jobs will be created in the drugs industry in a further boost to the employment market.
As the pharmaceutical giant Mylan announced yesterday that it would hire 500 extra staff in the next five years, sources revealed that more opportunities at several large employers in the sector will be signed off in the coming months.
It is understood that the IDA is chasing up to 100 investors from around the globe.
Mylan, the US-based drugs company, said yesterday that it planned to create over 500 jobs by 2016 -- 220 in Inverin, Co Galway and the rest in north Dublin.
It has already begun recruiting staff to work in research and development, engineering and administration as part of a €76m-a-year investment plan.
A spokesman for the company said the new jobs would be available in research and development, engineering quality control and administration.
"I can't provide any additional details," he said. "The best thing is to look at the careers section on our website, Mylan.com. The type of jobs is pretty broad.
"We are looking for folks in research and development, engineering and quality, but there should be administrative openings as well."
A trawl of the website yesterday did not reveal any jobs on offer yet. But the spokesman said last night that online links would be set up shortly to begin the recruitment process.
The company's businesses here include Gerard Laboratories in Baldoyle, Dublin and Bioniche Pharma, located 10 miles west of Galway city.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny described the jobs announcement as "an expression of confidence in our country and in our people".
He said he had been told by Mylan's executive chairman Robert Coury that the choice had been easy due to the quality of the workforce in Ireland.
"I guarantee you -- they will not let you down because you have chosen wisely and you have chosen well, and they will continue to work to the highest standards," he said.
Mr Kenny said the Government was going to develop a "health innovation hub" to increase co-operation between the health service and pharmaceutical companies here. He noted that nine of the top 10 global pharmaceutical companies are located in Ireland.
He heaped praise on the IDA for its role in telling companies about the country's "tax, technology, talent and track record".
The life-sciences industry employs roughly 50,000 people in the Republic. Mylan has more than 1,000 products, which are used by seven billion people in 150 countries every year. It produces up to 45 billion doses of medicines each year.
• Meanwhile, up to 250 jobs are promised at a proposed €85m biomass combined heat and power plant in Shannon.
The jobs moved one step closer after members of Clare County Council voted through the zoning of an 80-acre site for "green" industry. Carbon Sole Industries is planning the 70mw plant on the site.