Apple CEO Tim Cook described Ireland as the company's "second home" as he received IDA Ireland’s inaugural ‘Special Recognition Award’ from Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.
He received the award at a ceremony that was attended by 1,000 people consisting of of invited guests drawn from IDA client companies, key stakeholders, business people as well as some Apple and IDA Ireland employees.
"Ireland has been a second home for Apple for forty years and this honor is even more special for us because it recognizes the contributions of our incredible team here who work tirelessly to serve our customers around the country, and around the world," Mr Cook said.
"I believe deeply that our most important work together is still ahead of us, and I’m grateful to the people of Ireland for their commitment to openness, to innovation and to the cooperation that will make possible the next generation of world-changing ideas.”
Mr Varadkar described how the tech giant has grown in Ireland, particularly in Cork, over the years.
“Only four years after it was founded, Apple opened a factory in Hollyhill in Cork, employing 60 people," he recalled.
Today Apple is Cork’s largest employer with 6,000 people of over 100 different nationalities and is a global operation.
Mr Cook becomes the first person to receive this honour, which will become an annual award to highlight to importance of foreign direct investment in Ireland.
CEO of IDA Ireland Martin Shanahan explained: “We are introducing this annual Special Recognition Award as we believe it is important that we celebrate the huge contribution our 1500+ FDI companies have made to Ireland."
Last November, the government was been accused of “misusing” data protection rules and of “deception” in refusing to name lawyers paid over €7m to fight the EU's illegal state aid Apple tax case against Ireland.