A US health care company is to create 250 new jobs in Ballina in Co Mayo. Hollister Ireland announced details of a €65m expansion to its existing plant in the town this morning.

The company already employs over 300 people in Ballina.

Hollister is one of a group of US multinational companies which have created up to 15,000 health care jobs in the West of Ireland over the past 30 years.

The company has been in Ballina since 1976 and its plant here specialises in continence care products. The plant is already worth €40m a year to the area in wages and services.

Ballina beat off stiff competition for the jobs from several possible alternative locations in the US, India and Eastern European for the new jobs.

The company's senior vice president Bob Crowe said Ireland's low corporation tax rate was one of the key factors in its decision to expand its operations in Ballina. He said the company had looked at other locations to expand its operations and decided on Ireland because of the success of its existing plant here, the support IDA Ireland had given the company and because of the tax situation.

'Ireland is a good place to do business', he stated.

Mr Crowe said the company would be recruiting 250 people with positions ranging from machine operators to scientists in the immediate future.

Hollister's decision will give Ballina 'a major economic boost and further strengthen the region's health care hub,' said Enterprise Trade and Innovation Minister Batt O'Keeffe.

'Ireland hosts 15 of the world's top 25 medical devices firms and Hollister's expansion plan demonstrates to the global investor community that our economic recovery is possible and we remain an attractive location for advanced manufacturing,' the Minister added.

Work on the €65m extension will begin shortly and over 200 construction workers will be involved in building the phase. Recruitment of key staff, who will be involved in new product development, has already begun.