Kerry Group to create up to 900 jobs in Kildare

Tuesday 09 October 2012 21.54
Up to 800 jobs will be in place within three years
Up to 800 jobs will be in place within three years

Kerry Group is expected to create up to 900 jobs at a new plant in Naas, Co Kildare.

Up to 800 jobs will be in place within three years, while a further 100 positions are projected to be created when the 28-acre centre is fully commissioned by mid-2016.

A further 400 jobs will be created in construction work.

The €100m investment is part-funded by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through Enterprise Ireland.

Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton said: "This is the largest single investment in food innovation ever by a company in Ireland, and puts Ireland firmly at the forefront of global food innovation.

"The fact that this is the work of an Irish company will help raise the ambitions of other Irish companies to become world-leaders in their own fields."

Kerry Group Chief Executive Stan McCarthy said he is hopeful construction of the new facility in Naas will begin early next year.

Mr McCarthy told RTÉ's News at One that the planning process will now get under way and he hopes that by end of 2014 or early 2015, the plant will be up and running.

He said there will be recruitment of graduates from Europe, the Middle East and Africa, with the majority coming from Irish universities.

Mr McCarthy said Kerry will be looking for a cross-section of people with technical and scientific skills who will work across the food and beverage platform.

He also said that the Kerry Group looked at others locations for the business including the UK and Europe, however he said once all the business considerations were made, it was clear that Naas was the best option.

Minister for Agriculture and Food Simon Coveney said the new centre will be the most technologically advanced food research facility on the planet.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Pat Kenny, he said the Kildare site competed with Amsterdam and London to be selected as the location, and it was a statement of confidence in Ireland's approach to the agri-food sector.

He said more than 500 top food scientists from leading global companies will visit the centre every year to develop products with Kerry.

He said the salaries involved amounted to €75m a year, and the jobs were for high-end graduates.

Meanwhile, Brown Thomas has said it will create 200 seasonal vacancies at its store on Grafton Street, Dublin.

The full and part-time temporary positions will cover the busy Christmas and New Year period.

The Chief Executive of Enterprise Ireland Frank Ryan says the news should yield an additional 1,100 jobs in the region, on top of the 900 directly created.

Speaking on RTÉ's Drivetime Mr Ryan said that on average for every job created in an Enterprise Ireland supported company, an additional 1.2 jobs are created in the region as a result.

As a result Mr Ryan said he expects the Naas region to gain around 2,000 jobs as a result Kerry Group's investment.

Mr Ryan said that the Kerry Group will take on over 200 graduates will be employed to work in the facility in the first three years of operation.

He said that the first 80 will be in place before Christmas, working in an existing building beside the site on which the facility will be constructed.

Mr Ryan said that calibre of jobs being created in the facility were the type of jobs that people with the appropriate skills, who had emigrated, "would come home for".

While at least half of the 900 jobs to be created by Kerry Group will be in research and development, Mr Ryan said there will also be opportunities in IT, finance, human relations development, administration.

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