Intel picks Irish plant for new chip


INTEL CHIEF executive Paul Otellini has confirmed it has selected its plant in Leixlip, Co Kildare, as one of three locations where it will manufacture its next generation of computer chips.

Mr Otellini confirmed to investors at a meeting in the US earlier this month that the 14 nanometer generation of chips would be manufactured at plants in Ireland, and in Oregon and Arizona in the US.

Intel chooses three sites for each new generation of technology that is introduced every two years.

In common with other US multinationals that make a significant portion of their revenues overseas, Intel had been under political pressure to support jobs at home. As a result it was widely expected that the Intel plant in either Ireland or Israel would miss out on the latest round of technology investment.

An Intel Ireland spokesman did not return calls for comment last night but the decision is a significant boost for its local operations.

The Leixlip plant had not secured a major investment from its parent since 2004, when the corporation announced it was spending $2 billion to build a factory called Fab 24-2.

With no major investment since then a number of production facilities at Leixlip had been mothballed and the US company had its first compulsory lay-offs in 2009.

In January 2011 Eamonn Sinnott, Intel Ireland general manager, said $500 million had been secured to upgrade an older manufacturing plant to prepare it for a possible investment.

Mr Otellini’s confirmation of Leixlip as one of the next generation factories suggests Intel will make a multibillion-dollar investment in building a new Fab in Leixlip.

There are about 4,000 people working at Intel in Leixlip. The decision to manufacture the new chips there is also likely to create hundreds of temporary construction jobs.