Grant aid package for 4,000 jobs approved


THE Cabinet has given approval for grant aid for up to 4,000 jobs. The IDA backed package will include an IBM project in Dublin which will provide up to 3,000 jobs.

Healthcare multinational Johnson & Johnson will be unveiling plans for a new plant in Cork today, providing 300 jobs initially. But it is understood that the project has potential to more than double that figure in the midterm.

The IBM deal is one of the biggest electronics projects ever announced. It will involve a total investment of up to £150 million. The Exchequer is expected to provide grant aid of about £50 million.

IBM, which already employs 800 people directly in Ireland in its various operations, is to locate the new plant at Mulhuddart on the Dublin/Meath border. The plant will include facilities for manufacturing memory products, disk drives and software, as well as providing tele services and technical support. It will be housed in up to five buildings which will be built in phases.

US multinational IBM had a turnover of £45 billion last year and up from £40 billion in 1994.

The new plant is part of the company's restructuring, which began in 1993. It is moving into what is known as "open architecture" systems, which are more compatible with other systems, as opposed to proprietary systems".

Many of the jobs will be aimed at graduates and will be created on a phased basis over the next three to four years. Fingal County Council met last night to give its approval to sell some of the land in Mulhuddart for the factory.

It will be a "campus style" development involving four to five facilities, totalling one million square feet. The building contract is out to tender.

IBM also announced a tele services project earlier this year. Located at Blanchardstown, it will eventually employ 750 people.

The Minister for Enterprise and Employment, Mr Bruton, said yesterday that the new IBM project was a great vote of confidence for Ireland. A press conference is being held in Dublin this morning to announce full details.

Meanwhile, details of the Johnson & Johnson project will be announced in Cork later today by the Minister of State for Finance, Mr Hugh Coveney. The project will entail building a factory at Ringaskiddy, initially employing 300, but with potential for 600-700 jobs at least.

The company has taken a landbank of 30-35 acres at Ringaskiddy and will manufacture medical items including hip replacement joints. It is understood that it is the first major project in Ringaskiddy that is not pharmaceutical related.

Johnson & Johnson has had a presence in Ireland since the 1950s, according to industry sources. It owns a plant in Tallaght, Co Dublin, where it employs 100 people and manufactures consumer hygiene products.

It also owns Janssen Pharmaceuticals in Little Island, Cork where it employs more than 20p people.

Last year, Johnson & Johnson set up Vistacon, at the Plassey Centre in Limerick. The company employs 200 people and manufactures contact lenses.

It has been a busy year for the IDA and a busy week for job announcements.