Nortel to create another 150 jobs at its Monkstown plant


Nortel Networks, the Canadian telecommunications company, is to create 150 jobs at its Northern Ireland telecommunications engineering centre in Monkstown, on the outskirts of Belfast.

The £4.7 million sterling expansion will see employment at the centre rise to 525 by 2001. Nortel Networks has been offered selective financial assistance of £900,000 by the Industrial Development Board towards the capital costs. The investment was announced yesterday by the chairman of the IDB, Dr Alan Gillespie, who said it will enable the Belfast centre to "play an even greater role in the design and development of fibre optic products which form the networks for communications traffic on the information superhighway".

He added that, since 1995 Nortel Networks, has invested almost £12 million in Belfast and that less than a month ago the centre announced a £2.5 million research project supported by the Industrial Research and Technology Unit (IRTU).

The latest investment makes Nortel Networks facility the largest industrial R & D centre in Northern Ireland. Dr Gillespie said several telecommunications companies have announced recent investments in Northern Ireland, among them Celeritek, BT, Fujitsu and RELTEC.

Outlining the reasons for Nortel Networks' latest investment, its vice president for International Optical Networks Product Development, Mr Peter Schuddeboom, said the Belfast centre "has global responsibility for the design and development of equipment known as synchronous digital hierarchy - which forms the backbone of the information superhighway".

"The Belfast operation therefore provides Nortel Networks with a significant resource of high-quality technology graduates and highly cost-effective means of undertaking R & D projects," he said.

"The reason we're continuing to invest there is that everything we have been able to do in Northern Ireland has been successful," he added. "We have 20 R & D establishments on a worldwide basis and Northern Ireland comes at the top of the list," he stated.