A bumper jobs boost worth £22m to the economy has been announced by one of Northern Ireland's most successful software companies.
First Derivatives Group yesterday unveiled 484 jobs for its headquarters in Newry during an announcement made by First Minister Peter Robinson and deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.
The company, established and led by Newry man Brian Conlon, is a global provider of financial software systems and has branches all over the globe. Its clients including some of the world's top 100 financial institutions.
Mr Conlon said the expansion will spearhead the company's move towards further growth in export markets.
The new positions, created in an expansion move backed by £3.9m from Invest NI, bring the firm's worldwide workforce to almost 1,500.
A proportion of the new jobs, 119, will be allocated to its subsidiary, Market Resource Partners, which, though headquartered in Philadelphia, is wholly owned by the Newry company and has a base in the Co Down town.
Mr Conlon said the investment would "substantially increase its capacity".
He said: "It will enable the group to develop new business in export markets.
"Critical to the success of our business is the quality of staff, and we know from experience that we can recruit excellent staff locally."
Mr Conlon also praised Invest NI's ongoing support, which he said continued to be essential to the firm's growth plans.
Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Arlene Foster said one of Invest NI's key objectives was "supporting the creation of high value jobs with salaries above the Northern Ireland average" which "will ultimately help to rebuild and rebalance our economy".
Mr Robinson paid tribute to the firm, stating: "First Derivatives is one of Northern Ireland's most successful indigenous software companies and should be commended on its remarkable achievements in what is a highly competitive global market."
Mr McGuinness said the news of the "high quality jobs" was another sign the Executive's job creation strategy was working.
"They are a local company with an international reputation for quality of services and everyone involved should be proud of their achievements."
Chief executive of Newry Chamber of Commerce and Trade, Orla Jackson said: "First Derivatives is a phenomenal success story, not only for Newry but for Northern Ireland as a whole."