Plans announced for 490 new jobs
Almost 500 new jobs have been promised by a number of companies planning to expand operations in Ireland over the coming year.
Convenience store chain Centra said it was opening 20 new shops around the country in the months ahead.
The move, after a 3.5% hike in sales last year, will create 400 positions, vowed Martin Kelleher, managing director of Centra.
"Buoyed by our sales performance, our retail partners also invested over 7 million euro in new stores, extensions and refurbishments with 20 new stores and adding 45,000 square feet of additional retail space," he said.
With an existing 465 stores, Centra already employs almost 10,000 people.
Elsewhere, Alexion Pharmaceuticals said it was creating 40 positions with the opening of a vialling facility in Athlone.
The investment is being backed by the taxpayer through State investment agency IDA Ireland.
Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said the Government was targeting supports at the generics and biopharmaceuticals industry.
"With strong implementation of our plan I am confident that we can see further announcements like this in the coming months," he said.
Stephen Squinto, executive vice president at Alexion, said the expansion signalled the company's commitment to growing operations in Ireland.
"As we continue to grow and expand our operations to serve more patients, this facility will help us to provide life-transforming medicines to patients in Europe and around the world," he said.
In Cork, communications provider Zevas is taking on 50 new staff at its headquarters on Monahan Road.
The company, which sells call centre and business outsourcing services, already employs 200 people at the site.