by Bernie English
LIMERICK and the wider Mid-West region is looking at a new economic dawn this week with industrial diamond manufacturers, Element Six announcing forty new jobs and a €45 million investment in their Shannon facility.
The investment, which will involve the relocation of an additional €20 million of assets over the next two years at the Shannon site, comes in the wake of a series of announcements that look set to provide over 200 new jobs in the Limerick area.
And figures from the Central Statistics Office show that the region is on the up in terms of employment, having the highest rate of job creation of anywhere in the country, with 585 new jobs being created every week over the last three months alone.
The biggest announcement this week was from engineering specialists Optel Vision who announced they are planning to recruit 140 people at their facility which has just opened in Raheen Business Park.
This was closely followed by Johnson and Johnson who are to create 100 new jobs with the opening of a new centre at the University of Limerick. The pharmaceutical giant is to develop state-of-the art software in Limerick that will be used by its various associate companies throughout the world.
Meanwhile, coffee chain, Costa Coffee will open on Cruises Street, employing 15 staff, while Butler’s Chocolate Cafe has opened a new store in the Crescent, employing 17.
And there were predictions of even more good news coming down the line, with Michael O’Leary telling a press conference in Shannon that Ryanair is in negotiations with a view to taking over the routes previously served by Stobart Air and to link planned new bases on the continent with Shannon Airport.
The president of Optel Vision, Louis Roy has also said that the planned 140 jobs could rise to as many as 500 if the market demand increases while Arralis, who have won a lucrative contract with the European Space Agency, are hoping to expand their operation at the Nexus Innovation hub in Plassey.
Limerick Chamber chief executive Dr Orlath Borthwick welcomed the new announcements. “The recent job announcements in Limerick highlight the outstanding level of skills in our workforce and flexibility of our region,” she told the Limerick Post.
Limerick Fine Gael TD Kieran O’Donnell said that the steady growth in the region’s employment figures was reflected in the latest CSO figures.
“I am very encouraged by these figures. The CSO says that 7,600 new jobs were created in the region over the last three months. This equates to 585 new jobs every week. We have a long way to go, but these figures indicate that we are on the right road,” he said.