Four announcements lead to 1,650 jobs

Four announcements lead to 1,650 jobs

Some 1,650 jobs are to be created in a series of major investments in convenience stores, the tech sector and a food business.

In the largest announcement, the parent company of the Spar brand is to invest €100m opening new shops and revamping old ones.

The BWG Group is planning to open outlets in 50 new sites around the country with the aim of taking on 1,000 full and part-time staff over the next two years.

Chief executive Leo Crawford said the company’s strategy over the last 12 months of developing a high quality store was paying dividends.

“The retail sector makes a hugely important contribution to the Irish economy. Our planned store growth over the next two years and the new jobs that will be created will contribute to the economic recovery, especially in the local urban and rural communities in which our Spar stores are located.

“Following six years of recession we believe the economy is finally turning the corner and this uplift is starting to positively impact the retail sector. The upcoming budget will be a crucial milestone and we urge the Government to include measures such as the reversal in employer PRSI rates in order to maintain the fragile recovery in our sector.”

Spar already employs more than 14,000 people in Ireland.

The second major jobs boost involves plans for a €70m transatlantic investment fund being set up to finance and advise start-up technology companies with the potential to create 450 jobs around Ireland, north and south.

SmartInvest is providing the pot of money to 30 companies to allow Irish firms to expand in the US and for US businesses to establish bases in Ireland.

Companies will be targeted to see the development of bases in Louth, Donegal, Meath, Roscommon and Antrim and management will be offered mentoring, advice and training.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said: “The Irish Government is very supportive of initiatives such as this, which are intended to create jobs in Ireland and support Irish start-up and scaling companies, and encourage investment in Ireland.”

SmartInvest chief executive Gerry Moan said the fund recognises excellence in Ireland, both as a place to do business and its entrepreneurial spirit.

“We will work with evolving technology enterprises to address the early stage funding gap and further develop their overall businesses,” he said.

“There is an appetite among investors to capitalise on the opportunities that Ireland and the US offer as places to do business and gateways to large markets.”

Elsewhere, food company Ribworld is to take on 100 staff as part of an €8m investment programme at a new facility in Fethard, Co Tipperary.

The business is part of the M&M Walshe food group and is recognised as one of Europe’s leading sous vide specialists, supplying cooked meats to customers as far afield as Finland and Thailand.

The investment will take Ribworld’s workforce to more than 175 people over the next three years.

Ribworld went into receivership in 2011 and was subsequently bought out. Managing director John Walshe said the business has since grown by more than 200%.

“This new facility will allow Ribworld to continue to expand into new markets and develop a new range of products,” he said.

“It is a massive investment for us but we have every confidence that it will be a catalyst for a major expansion of our food group.”

In a separate investment, tech firm SolarWinds is to take on 100 staff at its base in Cork city.

The Texas-headquartered software company, which has its European operations centre in the Mahon area, already employs 150 people.

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