An Irish healthcare consultancy and out-sourcing company has announced plans to provide 280 jobs in Tralee, Co Kerry.

RelateCare was established in 2013 and already employs 1,400 people in Ireland and the US.

The business looks after back-office functions for hospitals and healthcare facilities.

It provides contact centre, tele-health and patient appointment scheduling facilities, with clients based in Ireland and in the US.

Headquartered in Waterford and backed by Enterprise Ireland, RelateCare has expanded rapidly since it was established nine years ago.

It had five employees when it started. Today it has 1,400, with 500 of those added in the last 12 months alone.

The company now has US hubs in Cleveland, Ohio, and at Little Rock in Arkansas.

Today it is announcing that it has established a hub at Kerry Technology Park on the campus of the Munster Technological University in Tralee.

The first 30 staff have already been hired, and recruitment of an additional 250 there is on-going.

RelateCare says the hub in Tralee will operate hybrid working arrangements, with the flexibility for employees to work from home.

Taoiseach Micheál Martin with RelateCare CEO Conor O'Byrne at today's announcement

At a function in Tralee, the Taoiseach described the jobs announcement as another important milestone in the journey of RelateCare.

"Today's announcement and the jobs that will accompany it are also a clear demonstration of RelateCare’s commitment to Tralee, the strength of the regional economy, and to the breadth of talent that is on offer here," Micheál Martin said.

RelateCare Group CEO, Conor O’Byrne, said today's announcement was coming at a very exciting time of growth and customer expansion for the company.

RelateCare CEO Conor O'Byrne

"The global pandemic has changed the way that organisations communicate with patients and increased the need for virtual engagement," Mr O'Byrne said. "In a time of unprecedented demand for healthcare services, we are incredibly proud to create these new opportunities as part of our on-going growth and increasingly pivotal role in supporting so many healthcare organisations, at home in Ireland and abroad."

He promised that RelateCare's footprint would continue to expand in the region over the coming years.

Enterprise Ireland CEO Leo Clancy described RelateCare as an excellent Irish company making a positive impact globally.

"Established only eight years ago, the company has become a significant employer in Waterford and the opening of its new facility in Tralee is very positive news for the town and the south-west region," he said. "Enterprise Ireland has worked closely with the company since it was established, and we are proud to support RelateCare with its ambitious expansion plans announced today which will create 280 high value new jobs in Tralee."

Tralee Chamber Alliance CEO Colette O'Connor

Chief Executive of Tralee Chamber Alliance, Colette O’Connor, said she looked forward to supporting RelateCare as the company gets off the ground in Tralee.

"I was particularly delighted to see the provision for Irish speakers with the intent to recruit some roles from within the Corca Dhuibne area of West Kerry," she said. "The Irish language is often overlooked, so on this occasion it’s another positive."

Ms O'Connor said former Chamber Alliance CEO, Ken Tobin, and his HQ Kerry business partner, Tom O’Leary, were instrumental in bringing this company to Tralee.

"This is a fantastic show of confidence in Tralee as a location for investment and innovation and we look forward to further announcements in the not too distant future," Ms O'Connor said.

RelateCare began as a joint venture between Rigneydolphin and leading US healthcare institution Cleveland Clinic in 2013. The company says the combination of a top-class technology infrastructure and a highly-trained staff enables RelateCare to deliver an exceptional experience to patients across the globe.

In addition to growing its workforce, RelateCare continues to invest in its technology infrastructure, furthering innovation and convenience for the patients and clients with whom it partners.

The Group has seen rapid growth over the past 18 months, with its administrative and clinical solutions supporting health systems in both Ireland and the United States.

RelateCare client partners include Cleveland Clinic, Stanford Children’s Health, Beth Israel Lahey Health, Duke Health and, in Ireland, the Health Service Executive.