Kildare County Council has granted permission to the Irish operations of US chip giant Intel to construct a brand new fabrication plant, or fab, at its Leixlip campus.

The company lodged a planning application in May.

Its application was for a 162,000 sq metre building which would be used for the construction of its silicon chips.

At the time sources at Intel Ireland, which employs over 4,000 people in this country, said the application was speculative and no decision had been made on whether or not a new fab would be constructed here if permission were granted.

Intel has not invested in producing a new technology at its Leixlip base since 2004.

The plans also include new internal roads, a chemical store, support buildings and parking for 2,200 cars.

If it were to be constructed, the Intel plant would see the creation of several hundred temporary construction jobs as well as permanent positions operating it, and would mark a significant expansion of operations at the Collinstown industrial park.

Around the same time as this planning application was lodged last May, Intel President Paul Ottelini, told investors in California that Ireland, along with Arizona and Oregon, would be one of three new manufacturing bases for next generation 14 nanometer chips, or their successors.

At the time Intel Ireland confirmed that Ireland was now on the parent company's so called "roadmap" for the production of future generation or generations of chips. But it couldn't say how soon the investment might take place, how much it could be worth or how many jobs were likely to be created as a result.

It also cautioned that such plans can be subject to change.

Last year Intel Ireland secured $500m to upgrade an older manufacturing plant to prepare it for such a possible investment and that preparatory work is ongoing.