Some 420 jobs were announced today at a US health insurance firm, the opening of a high speed fibre optic network and expansion at a long-standing Irish IT business.
Two hundred jobs are to be created in Letterkenny, Donegal, at UnitedHealth’s IT and claims processing centre.
Along with that, 140 positions are promised with the launch of the Government-owned Exemplar Network, which uses Irish-patented technology for fast, high-quality transfer of electronic data.
And 80 posts are being created by the PFH technology firm in Cork and Dublin.
Tánaiste and Donegal TD Mary Coughlan said the UnitedHealth investment would be a boost to one of Donegal’s most valuable employers.
“This expansion by one of the world’s leading health insurers is significant to the financial services sector in Ireland,” she said.
“On behalf of the Irish government, I look forward to providing continued support to UnitedHealth as its Irish operation grows and develops.”
The Minneapolis-based health insurer employs 340 people in IT and medical claims processing at its Letterkenny site. The 200 new positions will be split evenly between IT and medical claims processing.
It was said the investment, backed by the Government and enterprise agency IDA Ireland, was secured thanks to the highly qualified workforce and Ireland’s positioning on international time zones to allow staff to deal with customers in the US and India on a 24/7 basis.
Donegal had more than 22,000 workers signing on for benefits last month – the highest in the county’s history.
Later, Eamon Ryan, Communications Minister, unveiled the first phase of the Exemplar network in Dublin. Some €5m has already been invested in the network and another €5m has been pledged by the minister.
Mr Ryan described the technology as a breakthrough for Ireland and said that it had the potential to transform the internet.
“The future of the internet is here, and it’s being developed in Ireland,” he said.
“The new economy is digital, green and smart. The Exemplar network is all of these and with human ingenuity its future applications are endless.”
Phase II of the system will involve the construction of an active test ring around the Dublin metropolitan area and will commence next year.
The final phase beginning in 2013 will see the Exemplar system in place around the country.
More than 30 companies and institutions have already signed up to use the Exemplar network including BT, Imagine, Smart Telecom and IBM.
And in the third investment of the day, PFH said it would take on new staff in product development, engineering, sales and marketing and financial and administration.
Paul Hourican, managing director of PFH Technology Group, said the investment was another milestone.
“With the recent acquisition of the Irish division of Siemens Enterprise Communications, this is the next step in delivering the best of both technology and services,” he said.