Professional consultancy firm Accenture is to create 500 jobs in Ireland over the next three years.

The bulk of the positions will be based in a new regional hub in Cork and the wider Munster area.

Some will also be located in Dublin at the company's innovation centre, The Dock, and at Accenture Labs.

Many of the jobs in the south of the country will be focused on supporting activity in the life sciences sector and will include roles in digital supply chain, cloud and artificial intelligence.

These positions will be based at Enterprise System Partners (ESP), a Cork-located provider of consulting and manufacturing services to the life sciences sector which was purchased by Accenture two years ago.

Accenture Labs in Dublin is to expand its area of expertise into quantum computing and will be recruiting people with expertise in quantum chemistry, quantum engineering, and quantum information science.

The Dock roles will be in a range of areas such as visual, interactive and product design, entrepreneurship and technical architecture.

"Over the last 50 years, we have seen tremendous change and growth, and these new roles are a great indicator of the direction of change in Ireland," said Alastair Blair, country managing director for Accenture in Ireland.

"We are committed to continuing to invest in our people who deliver on the promise of technology and human ingenuity every day."

"We are also committed to building Ireland’s talent base to meet the demands of the increasingly important life sciences industry."

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Accenture currently employs around 5,000 people in Ireland in areas such as technology, cloud, security, strategy, creative and design.

"Already a substantial and valued employer of some 5,000 people in Ireland, these 500 additional jobs will have a considerable beneficial impact on Cork and the wider Munster region and exemplifies IDA Ireland's strategy of working with established companies to enhance their mandates, growing jobs in regional locations," said IDA Ireland CEO Martin Shanahan.

The news was welcomed by both Taoiseach Micheál Martin, and Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise Leo Varadkar.

"This is a fantastic boost," said Mr Varadkar.

"Ireland is globally recognised as a centre of excellence for life sciences and Accenture can expect access to a rich talent pool in Munster."

Conor Healy, CEO of Cork Chamber, said today's news from Accenture is a significant investment for city and one which will have positive impact across industries, particularly the life sciences sector.

"Our life sciences cluster boasts world-class pharmaceutical, bio-pharma and medical device companies, along with an excellent talent pool, R&D and innovation, and Accenture is a key player in this successful thriving ecosystem," Mr Healy said.

"Cork has a strong track record in attracting investment and today's announcement by Accenture is yet another vote of confidence in our creative, innovative and progressive city region," he added.