DUBLIN (Reuters) - Plans by Intel Corp to greatly expand its advanced chip manufacturing capacity will add 1,600 jobs at its Irish plant, one of the largest ever single job announcements by a multinational company in Ireland.
New Intel chief executive Pat Gelsinger announced a major investment plan on Tuesday, seeking to tilt a technological balance of power back to the United States and Europe.
A $7 billion investment in Ireland and Europe will more than double its available manufacturing space there, Intel's Irish general manager Eamonn Sinnott said. It currently employs 5,000 people in Ireland, mostly at its Leixlip campus located about 20km from central Dublin, making up half of its European workforce.
Sinnott said there will also be additional opportunities for investment in Europe as part of global plans to embrace the "foundry" business, where chip manufacturers open factories to outside customers. Intel has historically been a minor player in that area.
Irish Prime Minister Micheál Martin said the announcement was very welcome news as the government seeks to get people back to work and rebuild the economy from the COVID-19 crisis.
Ireland has been under a strict lockdown since late December, which is set to be only gradually unwound over the coming months. The unemployment rate, including those receiving temporary COVID-19 jobless benefits, stood at 24.8% last month.
The large multinational sector has shielded the economy from the worst of the crisis and now directly accounts for one in eight jobs across the economy after foreign owned firms added more jobs than they cut in 2020.
Digital payments giant Stripe announced 1,000 new jobs at Irish operation last week, while cloud software provider Workday added 400 more jobs at its European headquarters in Dublin this week.
(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Toby Chopra)