The announcements that two major US firms are to set up in Athlone were among the highlights of the IDA’s calendar for 2008, according to their end of year statement released this week.
A total of 500 jobs were announced for Athlone by US companies in 2008 - 250 by medical firm Abiomed last August, and 250 by pharmaceutical company PPD in December.
The investments were hailed by the IDA as some of the most significant announcements for Ireland last year.
The 250 jobs to be created by the €14 million PPD facility will be available to PhD level scientists, analytical laboratory staff, and other clinical development professionals. PPD is a leading contract research organisation, providing services to pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device companies, and academic and government agencies.
Meanwhile Abiomed is to create 250 jobs in the production of medical devices. The company manufactures devices that provide circulatory support to acute heart failure patients.
Both companies hailed Athlone Institute of Technology and the region’s educated workforce as predominant factors in their decision to locate in Athlone.
Across Ireland, the IDA won a total of 130 foreign direct investment projects in 2008, an increase of 14 per cent on the previous year. The investments are expected to create over 8,800 new jobs.
Commenting on the figures this week, IDA CEO Barry O’Leary said, “Ireland continued to attract significant high end Foreign Direct Investment (FDI ) over the last 12 months despite the global economic crisis. Despite the economic uncertainty which will have a negative impact on the Irish and global economies, IDA remains guardedly optimistic of Ireland’s ability to continue attracting high level FDI in 2009 and beyond.
“It is particularly encouraging to see that many of the world’s leading companies continue to invest in Ireland in areas such as high end manufacturing, global services, and research, development and innovation.”