Tourist town to become world's Botox capital in major jobs boost
Westport is set to become the Botox capital of the world.
US pharmaceutical giant Allergan -- which manufactures the anti-wrinkle drug -- yesterday confirmed a massive $350m (€274m) expansion in the Co Mayo town which will create 200 new jobs over the next four years.
A further 250 jobs will be created in the construction of a new manufacturing and development centre at a technology park alongside the existing plant.
The expansion will bring the total job numbers at the Allergan facility in Westport to more than 1,000.
A further 100 people are employed at the company's Dublin offices, providing a range of customer services.
The huge jobs boost will make the quiet tourist town on the Mayo coast, with a population of about 5,500, the envy of towns several times its size elsewhere in the country.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny joined senior management figures of Allergan Pharmaceuticals Ireland and IDA Ireland for the jobs announcement in Westport.
The company, which is a subsidiary of Allergan Inc, headquartered at Irvine in California, has had operations in Westport since 1977.
The investment follows approval last year for the use of Botox for a number of medical problems, including chronic migraine and urinary incontinence in adults arising from multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injury.
At present, Botox for cosmetic use -- primarily in eliminating crow's feet and wrinkles in ageing women -- accounts for about 50pc of the drug's usage. But its therapeutic use for medical conditions has been growing significantly.
Mr Kenny agreed that the development had confirmed Westport as the Botox capital of the world: "They're looking from places all over the globe to Westport because Westport manufactures what people want . . . it's a wonderful company."
Mr Kenny added: "This (investment) is a commitment by this plant to this region for the next 25-30 years. From that point of view, it is very significant."
IDA chief executive Barry O'Leary pointed out that Allergan was already contributing an average of $25m per annum to the Irish economy.
In a second major jobs boost yesterday, IT consultancy firm Accenture revealed that it is to hire 100 individuals skilled in cloud computing, Java, SAP and mobility workplace collaboration technologies.
Mark Ryan, country managing director with Accenture Ireland, said yesterday that clients were looking to the company to reduce costs and improve efficiencies.
Accenture already employs more than 1,000 people in Ireland and provides management consultancy, technology services and outsourcing to the private and public sector, including Microsoft, Kerry Group and the Revenue Commissioners.
The announcement follows the company's investment in the new Accenture Analytics Innovation Centre in Dublin last year.
And a significant number of new jobs are expected to be created as Sammon Contracting Ltd starts work on a primary care facility in Newbridge, Co Kildare.
The €7.8m development is a public/private venture between Clarington Primary Care, Centric Health, Kildare VEC and the HSE.
Meanwhile, there were fears last night for up to 100 jobs at the La Senza chain of lingerie stores in Ireland after the company went into administration.
John Douglas, general secretary of the Mandate retail union, said staff had been told not to come into work today because the company is in administration.
Mr Douglas said the union would try to make contact with the administrators today to establish the exact situation and the position on jobs.