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Intel lifts hopes of massive jobs boost

IRELAND is one of two main contenders to secure technology giant Intel's next major factory -- and success could help lift the country out of the economic doldrums.

Israel and Ireland have been confirmed as the two top locations competing for the plant that would create Intel's next generation of microprocessors.

If Ireland secures the project it would be in for a jobs and investment bonanza that could be a factor in putting the country back on its feet.

Intel is expected to decide next month on where to build the 22-nanometer technology factory.

The new technology that will be developed at the plant will be used in future chips that will appear on the market in late 2011.

The last major investment by Intel at its sprawling Leixlip plant -- in May 2004 -- saw $2bn being pumped into its FAB 24-2 factory, which runs 65-nanometer process technology.

However, the company's Irish operations cut nearly 300 jobs last summer in a decision to mothball one of its older facilities and make it available for new investments.

Intel employs around 4,500 people in Ireland, between its operations at Leixlip and Shannon. It is also Israel's largest private exporter and biggest private sector employer, with 6,340 staff there.