135 jobs are to be created in the Donegal Gaeltacht, the first major employment boost for the area since local TD Mary Coughlan was appointed Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise.
International medical diagnostics firm Randox Laboratories is to invest €7.5m at a manufacturing and research and development plant in Dungloe.
A range of products will be made at the site including analysers and biochips for clinical and research use in hospitals around the world to aid the diagnosis of disease.
The high value jobs will be created over the next three years in an investment supported by Udaras na Gaeltachta.
Pat the Cope Gallagher, junior minister for health promotion and food safety and TD for Donegal South West, announced the investment saying it was tremendous news.
“The decision by the company to place such a sophisticated and technologically advanced operation here shows a huge vote of confidence in the workforce and in the area in general,” he said.
“I commend Udaras na Gaeltachta on its strategic work in finding such a high quality project, especially since this area was hit by job losses this time last year.”
The R&D team in Dungloe will focus on developing new diagnostic products for the healthcare market around the world. Randox invests around 30% of the company’s annual revenue on research.
Dr Peter FitzGerald, managing director of Randox, said Dungloe was selected because of the high quality facility, the well educated workforce and the infrastructure.
“We are excited about this expansion and hope it will increase the local economy’s success by providing a range of professional employment opportunities,” Dr FitzGerald said.
“We hope this will also aid in our mission to improve diagnostic solutions on a continual basis.”
The Randox plant will be based in an existing factory on the Udaras na Gaeltachta business park.
Padraig O’hAolain, head of the enterprise body, said: “We are very pleased to be able to facilitate and support the establishment of this venture.
“The high-quality employment opportunities that it will create is vitally important to the area and will assist in developing and sustaining the local community into the future.”
The jobs and high profile investment will be a welcome boost for the area which has been hit hard by losses over the past few years.
The Udaras annual report for 2007 found only 73 jobs were created in the Gaeltacht areas of the country but employment topped 8,000 for the first time in six years.
More than 950 jobs were lost in the Irish speaking regions last year.