1,200 jobs in pipeline for Cork region

AT least five or six new foreign direct investment projects are in the pipeline for the greater Cork region, an IDA spokesman confirmed last night.

At least 1,200 jobs ought to result, but the figures are hard to quantify.

Ultimately the 1,000 jobs that resulted from the Guidant investment initially looked like it would be only 200, he said. For that reason projecting final job numbers was hazardous and dangerous because it could raise false hopes, he said.

Cork and its environs has done well in the quest for investment, netting 3,500 jobs in 2000 before dipping to 1200 last year.

The slowdown matched the difficult global investment climate and the IDA sees the Cork region as one with great future promise.

Industrial strategy is evolving and beginning to match the greater Dublin region in terms of inward investment at this stage, he said.

That will be reflected in the fact that in 2004 Cork will be “one of the few, if not the only region to show net job increases” which augurs well for the future.

New projects will include the expansion of at least one existing pharmaceutical company and one new venture while medical devices and the international services sectors ought to boost the inward investment profile further over the rest of 2004, he said.

However the region’s development is being hampered by a lack of a major data centre.

That’s an issue that needs to be addressed urgently at both government and local level, he said.

Dublin at this stage has several data centres funded by big overseas investors.

These centres are the cogs in the internet wheel that have brought the likes of Google and other key on line groups to the eastern region.

Up to €70 million can be invested in the hubs and Cork will find it very difficult to attract the likes of a Google unless the data centre question is addressed and resolved, said the spokesman.

Holding back the growth of the area also is the lack of telecom providers. Dublin has about 25 serving the market and competition is intense.

By contrast just about five are competing in the southern region which means firms coming into the area are paying much higher telecom rates than is the case in Dublin, he said.

If there is one issue however in the totality of what makes for inward investment, the IDA spokesman cited the failure to attract a data investor to build a data centre.

“It is up to the region and the government, along with the IDA to argue the case, for such an investment - it is not going to happen in a vacuum, he said.

With broadband becoming more readily available the internet sector would get a great boost if the data centre issue was resolved.

“It could be the next important jumping off development point”, he said.

More in this section

Lunchtime News Wrap

A lunchtime summary of content highlights on the Irish Examiner website. Delivered at 1pm each day.

Sign up

Our Covid-free newsletter brings together some of the best bits from irishexaminer.com, as chosen by our editor, direct to your inbox every Monday.

Sign up