Expansion of medical plant will lead to 230 jobs

THE recent surge in job creation continued yesterday with more than 200 jobs on the way for Galway. It was also announced that 50 jobs are to go in Limerick and Dublin lost out to Antrim in its bid for 1,000 jobs.

Tánaiste Mary Harney announced that US firm Merit Medical Systems will create 230 jobs at the Parkmore Business Park West in Galway over the next five years.

The expansion of the Merit Medical research and development plant will get €9.3 million in IDA grants.

The facility will be extended from 27,000 sq ft to 67,000 sq ft, with construction already underway.

Ms Harney said the investment was very good for the region and was an indication that Ireland can attract major R&D projects.

“This is a significant endorsement of the Galway facility and will further enhance its value and strategic importance within its parent group. It will increase Merit’s already important contribution to Galway and surrounding area through the provision of new employment, she said. Merit Medical develops, manufactures and markets single-use medical products for use in diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease. In 2003 Merit had sales of $136 million and profit before tax of $27 million.

The company has been in Galway since 1996 and employs nearly 180 people.

But Limerick received a blow yesterday with technology company Cognizant announcing that it was closing its plant with the loss of 50 full-time jobs.

The company said the 35% rise in the value of the euro against the US dollar since the facility was acquired in 2002 has substantially increased the costs of the operation.

The company said it would provide severance packages and outplacement services for the workers.

“We are disappointed that circumstances, in particular euro appreciation, have forced this action,” said Cognizant chief operating officer Francisco D’Souz.

And Dublin lost out on 1,000 new jobs in the retail sector with the British department store group John Lewis expected to confirm today that it will build a new outlet in Lisburn, Co Antrim. John Lewis had been looking at a site in west Dublin.

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