Kerry Group's new €100m R&D hub to create 1,300 jobs
The Republic of Ireland's biggest food company has served up a massive employment boost that will create 1,300 jobs over the next four years.
The Kerry Group unveiled plans for a €100m (£80m) global technology and innovation centre in Naas, Co Kildare.
The facility will be involved in research and "product innovation", according to Stan McCarthy from the Kerry Group, which is responsible for products such as Denny rashers and Dairygold butter.
The company employs nearly 700 people in Northern Ireland at six factories including Henry Denny -amp; Sons in Portadown, Dairy Producer Packers in Coleraine and Golden Cow in Craigavon.
Ireland's Taoiseach Enda Kenny, deputy leader Eamon Gilmore, Jobs Minister Richard Bruton and Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney all attended the launch in Dublin yesterday.
Up to 800 jobs will be created by 2015, with an extra 100 coming the year after. A further 400 building jobs will also come with the construction of the 28-acre facility at the Millennium Park in Naas.
Mr Kenny said Kerry Group is a "world leader in food production" and said the Government is fully behind its plans.
He said the new centre will "act as an international magnet".
Mr Gilmore described Kerry Group as a "world leader in the growing food business".
Kerry chief executive Stan McCarthy said the new centre would bring significant career development opportunities and would assist in accelerating graduate and early career development, talent management and training.