Multinational pharmaceutical company MSD is to create 330 jobs in Ireland over the next three years.

The positions will be split between the firm's manufacturing plants in Carlow and Cork and will bring to over 1,900 the number of employees the company has in Ireland.

The expansion of the US-headquartered company's operations in Ireland will be driven by a €280m investment in production facilities at both sites.

It is needed, the company says, to meet increased global demand for the medicines and vaccines that it manufactures in Ireland.

Around 210 of the new roles will be at the firm's plant at Brinny in Cork, where biologic drugs for illnesses like lung cancer, melanoma and hepatitis C are developed, tested and manufactured.

The other 120 positions will be at the MSD's manufacturing facility in Carlow, which is MSD's first stand-alone vaccine and biologics plant outside the US, and where new immuno-oncology treatments are made.

The new jobs include technical, engineering, biochemistry, biology, quality and operations positions.

MSD says the announcement is a reflection of Ireland's positive standing in its global network, a vote of confidence in its people and a sign of MSD's future commitment to Ireland.

The expansion has been welcomed by Minister for Jobs Mary Mitchell O'Connor and the IDA, which supported the investment.

MSD has been in Ireland over 50 years and currently has 1,600 employees here in Carlow, Dublin, Cork and Tipperary.

Last year its Irish operations generated a turnover of €4.7bn.

The Irish sites export to over 60 countries and produce more than half of the firm's top 20 best-selling products.

It also carries out commercial, global financial services and marketing functions from its Irish offices.