Longford town will get 1,300 new jobs over the next five years in what the Industrial Development Authority described as the biggest project to come to the Midlands.
Cardinal Health Inc. is the second-largest drug distributor in the United States and it plans to establish a European manufacturing and information technology center on a site close to the town. The total value of the investment is $100 million.
Local politicians said the news was particularly welcome given that Longford lost more than 500 jobs over the last two years with the closure of three factories. A special interagency group was set up by the tanaiste, Mary Harney, 18 months ago to try to bring new jobs to the town.
The scale of the project, relative to existing industry, is huge. There are currently just 2,500 people employed in industrial jobs in the whole county. It is envisioned that the new plant will draw people from within a 30-mile radius.
Construction on a 400,000-square-foot premises is expected to begin next year after planning permission is secured and recruitment will not start until late 2002.
Intel delays production
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Production at a $2 billion plant being built by the Intel company in Leixlip is to be delayed following a decision to switch to making the most up-to-date and economical computer chips.
Building of the new plant, known as Feb 24, is already well under way. Employing 1,500, it is the largest single construction project in Ireland.
When announced in June, the plant was intended to make 200mm silicon wafers, with fabrication starting in late 2001.
Now Intel plans to move straight to making the new state-of-the-art 300mm wafer, beginning in 2002.
The larger-capacity wafer allows over twice the number of microprocessors to be fitted on each, compared to the 200mm wafers, leading to a 30 percent reduction in production costs, a spokesman said.
The company denied the delay in production start-up was connected with a late-year slump in computer sales.
The new wafers will incorporate Intel’s new 0.13-micron process technology — a micron is approximately 1/100th the width of a human hair.
Intel is already one of Ireland’s biggest employers with 3,300 staff and a further 1,400 in permanent employment with long-term subcontractors.
The expansion, the company says, will create more than 1,000 new jobs by 2004.
Intel first opened a plant in Ireland in 1989. The anticipated new development would bring it’s cumulative investment in the country to about $4.5 billion by 2003.
— Andrew Bushe
Celtic Vision launch
OlympusSAT, Inc., an affiliate of Ocean Communications, Inc., has announced that it will provide Celtic Vision with its first national U.S. distribution by launching the independent network Jan. 1, on the OlympusSAT 1 package of digital programming services for transmission and distribution to cable operators and direct broadcast satellite providers in the United States.
Celtic Vision is a 24-hour network that appeals to the broad American audience interested in high-quality television and Celtic culture. Celtic Vision features programs in a wide range of genres, including drama, documentaries, music and dance, news, sports and talk, RTE is a major program supplier to Celtic Vision, including over 3,500 hours of new original programming each year.