The Government has approved support, though Enterprise Ireland, for a plan by drinks group Diageo to expand research and development at its St James's Gate facility in Dublin.

Diageo, which owns Guinness, plans to invest €24m in research projects which it hopes will boost its sales by €250m over three years. It is setting up a 'global centre of excellence' for beer research in Dublin.

The initiatives involved include researching new brewing materials and brewing technologies, beer concentrate technologies and new packaging and dispensing systems.

Earlier this year, Diageo announced plans for a new brewery in Leixlip, Co Kildare. This was part of a plan announced in May, under which Diageo said it would close its breweries in Kilkenny and Dundalk, but maintain production at St James's Gate, along with the brand new facility.