The Minister for Enterprise Trade & Employment, Micheál Martin, has announced the creation of almost 350 jobs in two projects in Cork and Westmeath.

Kinetic Concepts Incorporated, a US medical technology company, plans to hire up to 250 new staff in Athlone over the next five years.

The first 50 will be in place by the end of this year, while the remaining 200 jobs will be linked to the future growth of the business.

KCI manufactures and distributes medical products and equipment used in treating serious wounds.

The Texas-based company employs over 6,000 people worldwide, and already has a sales and marketing operation in Dublin with 32 staff.

Around 20% of the Athlone jobs will be for third level graduates.

Mr Martin will also announce that a second US firm, Blizzard Entertainment, plans to set up a game support centre in Cork city.

Blizzard Entertainment is a market leader in entertainment software, having developed games including World of Warcraft, Diablo, and Star Craft.

It will initially recruit 50 staff, though it plans to increase that number to 100 positions within three years.
Both projects will be receiving support from the IDA.