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Joy as Apple reveals 500 Irish jobs boost

COMPUTER giant Apple is to create 500 jobs here in a massive boost for the State. The jobs come as part of a major expansion of their Irish sales support operation.

The company is battling to keep pace with soaring demand for its products, including the new iPad 2, the imminent iPhone5 and the iCloud.

Apple currently employs over 2,800 people here and, when fully operational, the new customer support complex will boost its overall workforce to almost 3,300.

The 500 jobs will be based at a new three-storey office block at its Hollyhill base in Cork.

The jobs will be focused on sales and customer support across key markets, including Europe, Africa, the Middle East, India and parts of South East Asia. All 500 jobs are expected to be created by late 2013.

The news was today hailed by business leaders and politicians.

Cork Lord Mayor Cllr Terry Shannon (FF) said it was a tremendous boost for the regional economy, while IDA boss Barry O'Leary said it proved once again how attractive an investment location Ireland is for major firms.


"This development continues the strong trend of investment over the past years in Ireland, in particular from global ICT companies and demonstrates Ireland's continuing success in attracting FDI additional investment," he told the Herald.

Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton said the investment follows detailed negotiations between the US firm, the Government and IDA.

It marks a radical reversal in fortunes for Apple here, which in 1999 transferred production of its best-selling iMac computer from Cork to South Korea and axed 450 of its 1,000 strong workforce at Hollyhill.

Apple then designated Cork as its European headquarters and a key global sales support hub, with the past decade witnessing continued expansion. Such has been the success of its sales support operation that the firm now employs three times more people in Ireland than when it had when manufacturing iMac computers.

Over a five-month period to February, Apple's revenues from the strategic countries serviced by the Cork centre soared by 55pc.

This has largely been driven by huge demand for its iPhone and iPad ranges -- with a further sales peak expected with the launch of the iPhone5 by next Christmas.

The firm broke the 2,000- employee mark for the first time in late 2010 and has repeatedly advertised for sales and support staff during the past 18 months.

Apple -- which set up in Hollyhill in Cork in 1981 having been founded in the US in 1976 -- last month saw its market capitalisation soar to €350bn ($500bn).

At the height of the banking crisis in the US, Apple's financial reserves were briefly valued as greater than those of the US government.

Cork Business Association (CBA) has hailed the job news as "a godsend".

"This is fantastic news for the city," said CBA official James O'Sullivan.