420 new jobs for IT and health insurance areas

THE roll-out of a new Government-led “high-speed, high-quality digital network” is to create 140 jobs in the short-term and could lead to thousands more if later phases prove successful.

In all, 420 new jobs were announced yesterday in the information technology and health insurance spheres.

The Government confirmed it was to invest a further €5m in the Exemplar network, an Irish-patented high speed fibre network which enables companies to transfer data and images faster, more securely and in higher quality.

According to Communications Minister Eamon Ryan, the network “solves the problem of costly bottlenecks of data, opening up a world of possibilities for future applications on the internet”.

The first phase of the Exemplar network is already up and running in its “test bed” facility in Parkwest, Dublin, after a €5m investment last year.

It has already been put through tough tests including the broadcast of a Snow Patrol concert in St James’ Church in Dingle last year with a live, high-definition stream to a number of locations.

More than 30 companies and institutions have signed up to use the network to test their products and services and conduct research, including BT, Smart Telecom and EMC. UCC Tyndall, NUI Galway, UCD and DCU will also use the facility.

“The future of the internet is here,” said Mr Ryan. “And it’s being developed in Ireland. There are those who believe Governments are not innovators, that we are technology takers, not leaders. “This Government-identified cutting-edge technology has the potential to transform the internet. The further phases of this project have the potential to create thousands more jobs.”

Meanwhile, in Donegal, Tánaiste and Minister for Education Mary Coughlan TD announced that US health insurer UnitedHealth Group is to expand its operation in Letterkenny with the creation of 200 new jobs. The Minneapolis-based health insurer currently employs 340 people in IT and medical claims processing at its Letterkenny site. The 200 new positions will be split evenly between IT technicians and medical claims associates.

A further 80 jobs are to be created by PFH Technology Group which describes itself as Ireland’s leading privately owned technology and service provider. The new jobs will be based in Dublin and Cork and will be in product development, engineering, sales and marketing and financial and administration.

On a less positive note, Vodafone announced it is to cut its workforce by 130. It is looking for cuts through voluntary redundancy and early retirement and will be consulting with staff until the end of August.

It blamed “significant deterioration in the market, the decline in consumer spending and the impact this has had across the telecoms industry” for its decision.


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