Microsoft announces plans to hire 600 People

Ireland is selected as the location for a new EMEA Inside Sales Centre with the immediate creation of 500 new roles Recruitment of 100 people across Finance, Operations, Engineering, Sales, also underway Employees at Microsoft rewarded with a range of benefits to support them at work and at home

Microsoft today announced that it is to hire 600 people, significantly increasing its commitment to Ireland. Following the selection of Dublin as the location for one of four global Inside Sales Centres, 500 new roles have been created with immediate effect. The Company also announced that it is recruiting a further 100 people across its existing operations with opportunities in a broad range of roles with opportunities available in Operations, Engineering, Data Centre Management, Technical Solutions, Search Account Management and traditional customer sales. These new recruits will join the 1,200 people already working with Microsoft in the Dublin based EMEA Operations Centre, the European Development Centre, the Irish Sales and Marketing Subsidiary and at the Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) Data Centre.

500 digital inside sales professionals are being recruited immediately to serve customers from the state-of-the-art Inside Sales Centre in Dublin. The establishment of an EMEA Inside Sales Centre supports the evolution of Microsoft’s interaction with customers and partners – transforming and digitizing the sales experience.

The EMEA Inside Sales Centre will enable highly trained sellers to leverage leading-edge technology tools and analytics to better meet customer needs. The approach creates a sales experience for customers which is personalized to address their business challenges or business opportunities, and enables them to engage with Microsoft through their preferred channel. The Inside Sales Centre in Dublin will serve customers across EMEA in over 30 different languages.

Speaking at the announcement of the new investment, An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny T.D., said: “Ireland and Microsoft have enjoyed a long and prosperous history since their establishment in Ireland in 1985 and I’m delighted that this relationship continues to bloom with the announcement of 600 new jobs in Dublin. The Government has worked hard in recent years to make Ireland an even more attractive place to invest and growth substantial European operations. Today’s announcement underlines the strong commitment of Microsoft to its Irish operation and the strength of leadership of its Irish management team. The establishment of their transformational Inside Sale Centre is a testament to the attractiveness of Ireland as a location with our strong commitment to our EU membership, a competitive tax regime, a business-friendly environment and a skilled workforce with high levels of education. Finally, I wish all Microsoft employees every success in the future on their new state of the art campus in Leopardstown.”

Speaking at the event, Minister for Jobs Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’ Connor T.D said: “I’m delighted to be here at Microsoft today to join them in announcing this latest investment in their Irish operations and welcome the creation of an additional 600 jobs. This latest investment, which brings an exciting new multi-skilled business activity to the company’s Dublin base, further enhances the company’s presence in Ireland and is vindication of the competitive advantage Ireland can offer. The extensive Microsoft operation in Ireland has grown significantly in recent years and we look forward to our very successful relationship continuing to develop in the years ahead “.

Cathriona Hallahan, Managing Director, Microsoft Ireland said: “Our CEO, Satya Nadella, is creating a culture of innovation and is bringing amazing technology to people with products like HoloLens and Surface Studio, with lots more to come. The team in Ireland has a long track record of helping the company to deliver against its vision and strategy and now there are opportunities for 600 more individuals to play their part in making the vision a reality. I would like to take the opportunity to thank the government and the IDA for helping to bring this investment to fruition.”

Lisa Dillon, Managing Director, EMEA Inside Sales said: “The way we meet our customers’ needs is changing. We are creating an industry-leading digital marketing and data-driven sales approach to engage customers on their terms. We are looking for people to join us as we create the future of digital selling. The team we hire in Ireland will play a vital role in empowering our customers and partners across EMEA, drawing on the full array of Microsoft products and services in an era of digital transformation.”

The recruitment process for the newly created Inside Sales roles in Ireland has already started, but truly gets underway today with an ambition to have the organisation fully operational by the middle of the year. While many roles require previous sales or technical experience, the company is also seeking to recruit graduates with a few years’ experience who have the passion and aptitude necessary for these exciting opportunities. Microsoft is offering an extensive array of benefits in addition to a competitive package for the right candidates. Individuals with the relevant skills are being offered the opportunity to enjoy an exciting and rewarding career with one of the world’s leading technology companies.

Microsoft today stated that the successful candidates for Inside Sales and the other roles across the organisation will benefit from a progressive career path, including continuous investments in personalised professional development plans which will include the opportunity to secure additional qualifications and certification to help them become world class digital sellers.

For those in Inside Sales, the Microsoft Digital Seller Programme will give the recruits the opportunity to work towards a Diploma in Digital Selling in their first year and to attain a Post-Graduate Diploma in Digital Selling in year two. Managers will have the opportunity to work towards a Post-Graduate Diploma in Digital Sales Leadership. These certifications will be awarded by Dublin Institute of Technology.

Those working at Microsoft benefit from Fuel Your Everything, an employee wellbeing programme designed by the company to assist employees in fuelling their mind, body and life. This holistic wellbeing offering is provided in two ways: through a set of Wellbeing Experiences, which aims to develop employee capability or key life skills, including, financial wellbeing, mindfulness, peak performance and a parenting programme. There is also a wide range of Wellness Centre treatments such as a Gym, Spin classes, Yoga classes, health screening, physiotherapy, dental and optical, massage, reflexology, barber and even a nail salon! Employees also have access to extensive high end catering facilities to meet all their needs, complimentary private health insurance, three fully paid working days to volunteer for non-profit organisations of their choice and a matching funds program where the company matches employee donations.

Lisa Dillon concluded: “If you start here with us in Inside Sales, you will have the opportunity to develop your career within the company with almost limitless opportunities both here and abroad.”

Martin Shanahan, CEO at IDA Ireland said: “Microsoft’s decision to create 600 jobs in addition to its current workforce is testament not only to the company’s continued commitment to Ireland but also to the high calibre technical talent that is readily available throughout the country. Microsoft’s dynamic Irish workforce has facilitated the delivery of the firm’s global strategy. Microsoft’s expanding presence in Dublin further strengthens the capital city’s international reputation as a leading technology hub. I wish Microsoft every success with their future operations in Ireland.”

This year will be a milestone year for Microsoft in Ireland. Not only will the company increase its workforce significantly, but it will also move into a new campus in Leopardstown before the end of the calendar year. The €134M investment in the new campus will create an unrivalled workplace for the Dublin-based team, with views of the mountains and race and golf courses, technology embedded throughout the building, state-of-the-art gym and exercise spaces, a range of cuisine at bespoke designed restaurants, and rooftop terraces. The new campus is proving a significant attraction for people who are looking for an airy and modern workplace of the future which facilitates their desire to be close to open spaces while retaining easy access to the city centre, sea and mountains through a range of public transport links.

Further details of the available roles can be found at

Indeed to hire 500 new staff in Dublin

Indeed, the world’s largest job site, today announced expansion plans for its Dublin-based headquarters for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), adding 500 new employees over the next two years.

The company has already started recruiting for sales, client services, HR, business development, marketing, finance, strategy and operations roles, which will help companies across EMEA to maximise the return on their recruitment spend, while continuing to offer the best job search experience for jobseekers.

Indeed has sites in more than 60 countries and 28 languages. Unlike most job sites which only show paid listings, Indeed brings together the most job listings from employer career sites, staffing agencies, job boards, and career pages. Every month over 200 million jobseekers visit Indeed to find and apply for jobs through a desktop, tablet, or smartphone with a simple search. Indeed makes it easy for jobseekers to create job alerts which notify them as soon as new jobs are posted meeting their unique criteria.

The announcement demonstrates Indeed’s ongoing commitment to Ireland and the successful role Dublin has played as Indeed’s EMEA HQ for the past five years.

Indeed believes that happy employees are productive employees, and offer a variety of perks and benefits to attract and retain the very top talent:

* Open ‘Paid Time Off’ (holiday can be taken throughout the year, without a cap)
* Catered meals, endless snacks & drink options and weekly happy hours
* Wellness programmes, fitness classes and family fun days
* Office leisure including ping pong and pool tables
* Affinity groups for employees to connect over common interests
* Healthcare for employees and families

Supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and the IDA, Indeed opened its Dublin office in March 2012 and currently employs a team of 530 people in its St. Stephen’s Green office.

Commenting on the announcement Chris Hyams, President of Indeed said: “Today’s announcement is a particularly important one for Indeed. Deciding where to recruit and hire the right people ultimately helps us to fulfil Indeed’s mission – to help people get jobs. Having our EMEA hub in Dublin is the natural choice given the large pool of high-skilled talent both locally and from the rest of Europe. We now have 530 employees, representing 19 nationalities in our Dublin office. We look forward to growing our presence here in Dublin and continuing to work every day to help even more people get jobs all over the world.”

Commenting on today’s announcement, Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD said: “I welcome today’s announcement of 500 new jobs by Indeed. Their staggering growth since their establishment in Ireland in 2012 is a fantastic endorsement of our strengthening economy and is a reflection of the benefits of doing business in Ireland. The Government’s Action Plan for Jobs 2017 aims to keep Ireland competitive to new investment by EMEA HQ’s such as Indeed. Ireland will remain a central and committed member of the EU and the Single Market and growing dynamic companies like Indeed can rest assured we will work continually to promote the opportunities of the European Single Market.”

The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD said: “Indeed’s operation in Ireland has been a tremendous success story and the announcement that they are doubling their staff numbers here is very welcome. An additional 500 jobs is a huge economic boost and vote of confidence in Ireland. We are very keen to support the new dynamic Internet-based services sector and Indeed has blazed a trail in this area. We are sure that we can provide the new skills required and create the right environment for the company’s continued success.”

Martin Shanahan, CEO IDA Ireland, which supported Indeed’s initial move into Ireland said: “Indeed first came to Ireland to internationalise its business and to serve its growing customer base. Ireland has proven to be a superb location for the company to source talent and to expand its footprint into the EMEA market. Indeed’s drive and ambition has resulted in it being the world’s largest job site and the fact that Ireland plays a very important role in its global operations is a fantastic endorsement of the business environment here.”

For more information about Indeed and about the positions available, please visit

BrowserStack to establish International HQ in Dublin


Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD today announced that BrowserStack, the industry-leading mobile and web testing platform, has operationalized its state-of-the-art real devise Mobile Data Center in Dublin. The Minister also announced that BrowserStack will expand its Dublin operations and employ world class talent to lead the development of the next generation of mobile and web testing solutions. This expansion will create more than 40 roles within the next 24-36 months and recruitment is already underway.

BrowserStack is supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through IDA Ireland.

The massive popularity of internet browsing combined with the proliferation of browsers, operating systems and devices have resulted in inconsistent website experiences for users worldwide. Developers need to test their website changes across hundreds of possible combinations of mobile devices and platforms. BrowserStack is a cloud based service that allows web developers to perform these tests quickly and eliminates the need for expensive in-house testing infrastructure. BrowserStack currently supports more than 1100 combinations of browsers, operating systems and devices. BrowserStack serves more than 35,000 customers in 130+ countries and customers include: Twitter, Microsoft, AirBnB, Mastercard, and more.

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor welcomed Browserstack’s announcement saying “This is another great win for IDA Ireland and a further vote of confidence for Ireland and what we have to offer. Having BrowserStack’s International HQ located here adds to our ever expanding expertise in ICT and its presence here will help attract other high growth companies, I wish BrowserStack well in its endeavours.”
BrowserStack Co-Founder Ritesh Arora said, “We are committed to helping our customers solve their most significant problems. Setting up of the real devise Mobile Data Center in Dublin expands our existing cloud capacity. This expansion is an important step towards building a best-in-class global testing infrastructure. This will allow us to provide a better experience to our existing customers and support new product launches. We are also excited to expand our presence in Dublin and look forward to benefitting from its deep talent pool.”

Welcoming the announcement Martin Shanahan, IDA Ireland said “BrowserStack is a rapidly growing company with significant potential given its leading position in the market and the increasing demand for smart devices and availability of wireless internet connectivity. BrowserStack is one of a new generation of dynamic, innovative technology companies. This investment will assist IDA in attracting more Indian technology companies to Ireland.”

Open source leader Red Hat to invest €12.7M in new project, committing to create 60 jobs in Waterford

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor together with Minister of State for Training, Skills & Innovation John Halligan today announced that Red Hat, the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, plans to invest €12.7M in a new project, committing to create up to 60 jobs in Waterford over four years.

The project is supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation through IDA Ireland.

Red Hat’s Waterford office was established in 2014 following its acquisition of the cloud-based mobile software company, FeedHenry, originally a spin-out from Waterford Institute of Technology, and currently serves as the company’s global hub for research and development into mobile application development technology. In addition to Waterford, Red Hat has two other offices in Ireland, including Cork and Dublin.

Red Hat is at the forefront of developing new open source technologies that support organisations’ digital transformation projects around the world. This project is an example of Red Hat’s investment in these technologies and the talent that makes them possible.

Headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, USA, Red Hat Inc. is the world’s leading open source software solutions provider. Established in 1993, Red Hat has more than 85 offices globally and employs more than 10,000 people. Red Hat’s R&D global headquarters is in Westford, Massachusetts.

As an open source software provider, Red Hat uses a community-driven approach to develop and supply software-based operating systems, virtualisation, middleware, storage and cloud technologies. The company is focused on developing leading-edge open source technologies in areas that include containers, messaging, big data, real-time computing, middleware, management, mobile, security and identity.

Making the announcement in Waterford today, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor said: “This is terrific news for Waterford and the South East and I warmly welcome the creation of up to 60 high value R&D jobs which Red Hat has committed to create here over the next four years. This investment of €12.7m shows the confidence Red Hat has in its Waterford staff and also in its ability to source highly skilled workers. This is a great day for Waterford and the South East region.’’

The Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan TD said: “This is a really positive development for the South East region. The Government through the Action Plan for Jobs is very focussed on ensuring all of Ireland benefit from job creation. This project today shows that we have the capability to attract big IT projects, which will bring well paid jobs to the region.”

Dr. Mícheál Ó Foghlú, CTO, Red Hat Mobile, said: “The opening of this new office, and the announcement of the investment, is the result of significant work by all of the staff here in Waterford, most of whom are working on challenging new mobile technologies. We look forward to taking our place as a key pillar in the Information Technology landscape in the region.”

IDA Ireland CEO Martin Shanahan said: “It is great to see Red Hat develop its Waterford office as a strategic site by adding this project. Waterford has a growing software engineering base and this decision by Red Hat, a global software leader, to locate this project here is another excellent endorsement of the region as a prime location for other technology companies to invest in. I wish the company every success with this project.”

Lighthouse Studios, an All New Full Service Animation Studio, Launches Through Partnership Between Canada’s Mercury Filmworks and Ireland’s Cartoon Saloon

Significantly bolstering animation production in Ireland, Mercury Filmworks, one of Canada’s most prolific independent animation studios, has joined forces with acclaimed Kilkenny-based animation studio Cartoon Saloon to create an all-new 2D-focused animation studio in Ireland, Lighthouse Studios. The joint venture, supported by Ireland’s Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through IDA Ireland will create over 140 jobs in the next three years.  In the coming weeks, Lighthouse Studios plans to announce development and production projects, as well as a hiring initiative encompassing production management, designers, animators, effects artists, compositors, technical directors, 3D modelers, riggers, lighting and texture artists and IT administrators.

Gathering in Kilkenny to make today’s joint announcement were Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor; Mercury Filmworks CEO Clint Eland; Cartoon Saloon’s CEO Paul Young and senior IDA Ireland executives. They were joined by a number of local dignitaries and executives and artists from both companies.

Making the announcement in Kilkenny today, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD said “This is terrific news and I warmly welcome the additional 140 jobs which will be created in Kilkenny. I am always keen to pursue as wide a range of Foreign Investment projects as possible and this launch today shows that we have the creative talent to attract companies like Mercury Filmworks to Ireland. Ireland has a strong record in film making, including animation, and I have no doubt that this partnership between Mercury Filmworks and Cartoon Saloon will go from strength to strength”. Lighthouse Studios will provide high quality children’s and family animated content development and end-to-end production services–from script writing, design, storyboard, animation and compositing to post production services–to a global client base. Specializing in 2D animation with some CGI integration and utlizing the latest technologies, the studio’s production pipeline will mirror Mercury Filmworks’ Canadian operation. However, Lighthouse Studios will operate autonomously with its own management team, reporting to a Board of Directors comprised of executives from both Mercury Filmworks and Cartoon Saloon.

In making the announcement, Mercury Filmworks CEO Clint Eland, explained, “We have enormous respect for Cartoon Saloon and could not be happier to announce this collaboration. They are one of today’s most creative and well respected animation companies with goals, perspectives, and philosophies that complement our own.”

“Conceived as a studio with its own unique identity,” he continued, “Lighthouse Studios is neither wholly Mercury Filmworks nor Cartoon Saloon, but rather the best parts of each, transplanted in the rich Irish soil and nurtured by its own talented team of artists into a studio with its own unique and distinct creative perspective.”

Added Cartoon Saloon’s CEO Paul Young: “All of us at Cartoon Saloon are delighted to be in partnership with Mercury, as we have long admired their work. And now, together, we plan to make Lighthouse Studios and Kilkenny a center of excellence for animation. ”

Young continued, “Ireland enjoys a number of advantages when it comes to animation. The industry is supported by a growing number of educational programs and draws talent from all over Europe due to the quality of projects being produced here. The Irish talent pool has been spilling over into other parts of Europe and North America for years and we look forward to welcoming a lot of that talent home.”

The Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, John Halligan TD said “This is a really positive development for the South East region. The Government through the Action Plan for Jobs is very focussed on ensuring all of Ireland benefit from job creation. This project today shows that we have the capability to attract big international projects, requiring a diverse range of talents, which bring well paid jobs to this region. I know Kilkenny will be a great home for the new venture”.

“The impact of Mercury Filmworks creating this greenfield investment with Cartoon Saloon, one of Ireland’s most respected animation studios, is a game changer for the industry,” concluded IDA Ireland CEO Martin Shanahan. “It will greatly enhance the animation cluster in Ireland, broaden the animation skills base here and clearly positions Ireland as a compelling location for world-class content creators.”

Julie Sinnamon, CEO, Enterprise Ireland added: “Cartoon Saloon is recognised globally as a leading creative animation company. They are excellent role models of Irish innovation success, in a strong and growing cohort of innovative animation companies in Ireland. Enterprise Ireland has worked closely with Cartoon Saloon since 2004 and we are delighted to congratulate the team on this new venture, and wish them continued success for the future.”

About Mercury Filmworks

Mercury Filmworks® is one of Canada’s most prolific independent studios and internationally recognized as a leader in the animation industry for its benchmarks in quality, reliability, and innovation. Over its 19-year history Mercury has helped bring to life many of the most memorable modern animated television and film properties including Disney’s Tangled animated series and multi-award winning series Mickey Mouse Shorts, Lion Guard, Wander Over Yonder, Star and the Forces of Evil, Jake & the Never Land Pirates, Fish Hooks, Toot & Puddle, Gerald McBoing Boing, Atomic Puppet and the upcoming NETFLIX original series HILDA, based on the Eisner-Award nominated graphic novels by Luke Pearson.  Mercury is proud to be associated with partners such as Disney, Amazon, NETFLIX, Warner Bros., Universal, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, and its home networks, Silvergate, CBC, SRC, TVO, Knowledge Network, DHX’s Family Channel and Family CHRGD and the Corus Entertainment family of networks, Teletoon, YTV, and Treehouse.

 About Cartoon Saloon

Kilkenny-based Cartoon Saloon is a twice Academy Award® and BAFTA nominated animation studio formed by Paul Young, Tomm Moore and Nora Twomey in 1999. In 2010 the studio’s first feature film, The Secret of Kells, was nominated for an Academy Award® and in 2015 their follow up feature, Song of the Sea, garnered a second Oscar® Nomination. Building on a platform of award-winning shorts, feature films and TV series, Cartoon Saloon has carved a special place in the international animation industry with projects such as the award-winning tv series Skunk Fu and Puffin Rock and those currently in development including Wolf Walkers, Dorg Van Dango and Viking Skool. Cartoon Saloon’s next feature film “The Breadwinner”, co-produced with Canada’s Aircraft Pictures, Luxembourg’s Melusine Productions and in association with Angelina Jolie’s Jolie Pas Productions will have it’s worldwide premiere in Autumn of 2017. It is based on the internationally acclaimed young adult novel of the same name by Canadian author Deborah Ellis


Photo credit:@yifm

Minister Mitchell O’Connor to launch National Design Forum

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, announced today that she is to establish a National Design Forum which will drive Ireland’s capability and reputation as a source of design innovation.

“Innovation gives companies and products their competitive edge and design is the piece that makes products distinctive, valuable and desirable,” said Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor.

“We have a well-deserved reputation for international quality science, research and product development. We need to enhance the value of products and services to the customer by adding in the highest design values, improving functionality and user experience,” continued the Minister.

The Design Forum will focus on an agenda that will deliver on that objective and make recommendations to Government, to Departments and to Agencies.

The Forum will comprise businesses, Government agencies, third level colleges, design practitioners and design organisations.

The Forum will be chaired by Minister Mitchell O’Connor.

“I want this Forum to make a concerted effort to develop design capability in Ireland and to drive greater design-based innovation in the business sector, thereby supporting job creation and export potential,” said the Minister.

The Minister was speaking at the launch of Ireland – The Design Island, a consultation paper towards a National Design Strategy.

This Paper was compiled by the Design and Crafts Council of Ireland at the request of the Government, following the very successful Year of Irish Design (ID2015) which promoted the value of design and Irish design capability both nationally and internationally. It is the product of an extensive consultation with the business sector, the design sector, design practitioners and organisations, and the third level sector.


Action Plan for Jobs 2017 to target 45,000 new jobs this year

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny together with Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor today launched the Action Plan for Jobs 2017 at the offices of NDRC, the early stage investor in tech companies, in the Digital Hub.

The Action Plan for Jobs was introduced in 2012 as a key instrument of Government to support job creation. New plans are published annually, setting out clear actions and targets to help create positive conditions for job creation. The Whole-of-Government initiative sees all Government Departments and Agencies work together to deliver on agreed action points each year.

The target is to support the creation of 200,000 net additional jobs by 2020. There are nearly 190,000 more people employed now compared to when the first Action Plan was launched in 2012, surpassing the original target of an additional 100,000 jobs by 2016. According to CSO figures announced on Tuesday, the monthly unemployment figure for January 2017 is down to 7.1% from 8.5% in January 2016, the lowest since 2008. Employment is up by an average 10.6% across the country and over 2 million people are now at work.

A significant consideration in drawing up the Action Plan for 2017 was Brexit and the changing global trading environment. This year’s plan is at the core of the government’s response to the huge challenge these pose for businesses – to make sure our enterprise base is resilient in the face of changes to come.

The APJ 2017 is the first opportunity to set out a Whole of Government response to the volatility in the international trading environment.
The Action Plan sets out our response to Brexit in three areas:

· We are steadfast in our commitment to the EU, we will continue to benefit in terms of trade and investment and we will be prepared for whatever new trading relationship the UK has with the EU and Ireland

· Immediate steps are being taken to address the impact some firms are already experiencing as a result of Brexit. These include €3 million extra for Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland to recruit an additional 39 and 9 staff respectively to be deployed at home and in overseas offices to grow our exports and attract investment, an increased number of trade missions to drive export diversification, along with the specific measures in Budget 2017 to help enterprise prepare for the immediate future. Science Foundation Ireland is dedicating resources to developing Ireland as an attractive location for mobile, globally renowned researchers, including UK based researchers. We will address the short to medium term competitiveness challenges, diversify our trade footprint and build our presence in key markets and sectors. We are developing a new trade strategy to embed exports in the UK, grow share in Europe and North America and in new and emerging markets. We will also deliver actions to improve productivity and drive innovation, which will add value to our services and exports.

In addition to Brexit, there are specific actions on:
· An Export Finance Initiative, working with the Department of Finance/SBCI to roll out new support to export orientated SMEs, with a pilot in 2017
· Innovation 2020 – targets include €600 million in new RDI investment by FDI enterprises. EI to support 100 significant RDI projects and support for 850 enterprise-led collaborative projects
· Workplace Innovation, with a toolkit to be launched for employers and employees to engage in workplace innovation and a pilot programme roll-out
· Retail Support Programme with training developed to support retailers to scale up their online trading activity and expand into international markets
· Launch of a Design4Growth initiative in regions
· Launch of a competitive Start Fund for female entrepreneurs
· Development of a whole of Government approach to realise opportunities in the digital economy across all sectors, including a stakeholder summit in Q1
· A combination of measures to support senior entrepreneurship, get women back to work and for long term unemployed
· A ‘Think Small First’ SME test for new regulations to reduce red tape.

Speaking at today’s launch, the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny said: “The Action Plan for Jobs 2017 sets out the Government’s response to the challenges of an uncertain external environment by ensuring that our economy remains sustainable, competitive and resilient. We will focus on getting the basics right including improving our competitiveness performance, ensuring our skills pipeline is aligned to labour market needs, driving innovation and promoting entrepreneurship and ensuring finance is available at competitive cost to support and underpin growth. We need to build our trading resilience and we will help our ambitious enterprises diversify their markets, with a significant increase in Ministerial-led trade missions in 2017. We will remain vigilant to external changes with potentially significant implications for our economic well-being, and we will be agile in anticipating and responding to them”.

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor said: “This year’s Action Plan has never been more important, with Brexit and other challenges in our external trading environment. We remain committed to transforming the economy to one based on innovation and export-led growth and the Action Plan for Jobs 2017 sets short and medium terms responses to the volatility in the wider trading and investment environment. I am convinced that the effective delivery of the Action Plan can support the creation by business in all sectors and regions of an additional 45,000 jobs in 2017, towards our target of achieving full employment and an extra 200,000 at work by 2020. The Action Plans for Jobs have proved hugely successful and the whole-of-Government approach adopted has supported the creation of an average 40,000 jobs each year since the Plan was introduced.”

Minister of State for Employment & Small Business, Pat Breen speaking at the launch said “Small businesses are the backbone of the Irish economy and are making a huge contribution to the recovery in every region of the country. As Minister of State for Employment and Small Business I want to make sure that we are doing all that we can to support them by cutting red tape, reducing costs, providing low cost finance and providing easier access to public procurement opportunities.”
Minister of State for Training, Skills & Innovation, John Halligan said: “Action Plan for Jobs 2017 reaffirms the important role that talent and innovation play in job creation, even more so now in the context of Brexit. As Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation I will be working to achieve our ambition of becoming a Global Innovation Leader as set out in Innovation 2020 and ensure we are renowned internationally for our world class people and ideas”

My Department is ready for challenges and opportunities of Brexit

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor has given assurances that challenges and opportunities for enterprise posed by Brexit are a priority for her Department and Agencies.

The Minister was speaking in advance of a major stakeholder engagement event she is hosting in Carrick-on-Shannon on Monday 30th January. The purpose of this event is to facilitate a dialogue with stakeholders about the impacts, challenges and opportunities arising as a result of the UK decision to leave the EU, across the broad range of policy areas for which the Department is responsible.

The Minister also announced 39 extra staff for Enterprise Ireland’s overseas offices and in the Irish based team to support exporting companies in the context of Brexit. Staff will be assigned to:

§ Markets that are growing and have scale (including China, India, Latin America, Africa);
§ Markets where we are already well established but with potential for further growth (including UK, France, Benelux, Germany, USA, the Nordics).
In addition, IDA Ireland will hire 9 additional staff and relaunch their Graduate Programme.

Minister Mitchell O’Connor outlined a range of activity already undertaken by her Department and Agencies, including:

§ Regular Ministerial engagement with companies exporting to the UK to hear directly how Brexit impacts on them. Immediately following the result of the UK vote, the Minister began a series of meetings with key stakeholders, including representative bodies such as SFA, ISME, Chambers, the Irish Exporters Association, IBEC and the British Irish Chamber of Commerce, among others.
§ Completion of a contingency risk assessment of the potential impacts of Brexit across policy areas of the Department – this was undertaken in advance of the referendum result ,and work continues since then to refine these assessments;
§ Establishment of a Coordination Group on Brexit, which the Minister chairs consisting of CEOs of IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland, and relevant enterprise, single market and trade officials from the Department to oversee implementation of our response;
§ Establishment of a Senior Officials Group on Brexit to support the Management Board in ensuring a coherent and coordinated approach to Brexit across all areas of the Department.
§ Creation of a dedicated Brexit unit to coordinate the Department’s policy response, including the Department’s approach to negotiations within the EU and bilateral relations with the UK;
§ Minister Mitchell O’Connor participates in the Brexit Cabinet Committee, chaired by the Taoiseach.
§ The Minister has also met with her UK and a number of EU counterparts to stress the unique impact of Brexit on Ireland and plans to continue that engagement. In the coming months, with a series of visits to European capitals to meet her Ministerial counterparts in the coming months
§ Securing of an additional €52 million in Capital funding to support further job creation, innovation and support Irish companies to respond to the challenges and opportunities from Brexit. This represents a 10 % increase in the Department’s capital budget.

Speaking about the important role being played by the Development Agencies, the Minister said: “I have tasked my Department officials with making Brexit their number one priority. Since the UK vote last June I have had particularly intensive engagement with the CEOs of the Agencies to ensure that they are responding to national, UK and EU developments to maximum effect for business. We have a clear plan of action and are fully committed to supporting business to deal with the challenges and opportunities posed by the UK exit from the EU.”

The Minister continued, “Enterprise Ireland and the LEOs are working steadily with companies to ensure they are prepared to respond to challenges. I have put in place a structured dialogue with companies of different sizes, across different sectors and regions. This involves focus groups and a survey of a thousand businesses. I expect the results of this comprehensive survey to be with me in the next week. This will give me a clear evidence base in terms of what SMEs want and need”.

The Minister said it is important not to lose sight of, and capitalise on, opportunities emerging for Ireland as a result of UK withdrawing from the EU: “Ireland’s value proposition remains strong including, in particular, our continued membership of the EU and access to the Single Market. We are very much open for business. I’ve secured additional funding to IDA Ireland to help them target key markets and secure investments.”

John Halligan TD, Minister of State for Training, Skills and Innovation, will also attend the event and address the challenges in the research, development and innovation space as a result of Brexit. Minister Halligan said, “Investment in innovation is critical to creating and sustaining a knowledge economy. Ireland is one of the leading Research, Development and Innovation locations in the world. We offer an ideal commercial, political and social environment for companies to carry out successful and profitable RDI activities. The Government has committed to a target of investing 2.5% of GNP in R&D and delivering on this will be even more critical in the context of the UK decision to leave the EU.

There is no doubt there are challenges associated with Brexit but I believe there are also opportunities. While the UK is an important partner for us in Horizon 2020(the EU Framework Programme for Research & Innovation), we are well diversified in international collaboration through Horizon 2020 having strong partnerships in particular, with Germany, Spain and France. There are opportunities for us to build stronger alliances with other Member States as well as continuing bilateral research collaboration with the UK which we do outside our EU membership.”


Stakeholder Event
As part of the Government’s ongoing dialogue with stakeholders in relation to the impacts of the UK’s decision to leave the EU, the Department of Jobs, Enterprise & Innovation is organising this event to engage with stakeholders across the broad range of policy areas for which the Department is responsible.

This event, which is being held in the Bush Hotel in Carrick-on-Shannon on 30th January 2017, is an important element in the Government’s preparations to meet the broad range of all-island challenges arising from Brexit. It provides an opportunity to hear the voices of people affected by the vote, both directly and through representative groups.

This event is part of a series of All Island Sectoral Dialogues which are being held across the country as part of the Government’s consultative work on Brexit, and to facilitate a more detailed consideration of its impact across a range of key sectors.

The key outputs and learnings from this event will form an input to the second All Island Civic Dialogue, due to take place on 17 February in Dublin.

Brexit Update Service
A Government Brexit Update Service email alert, issued by the Government Information Service, is now available. This service outlines the latest Irish Government developments on the UK’s decision to leave the EU. This service issues regular updates on a variety of information regarding Brexit. You can sign up to this free service by completing the contact information form here:

Element Six announces 100 job expansion as part of €7million investment

Investment will see employment levels more than double to 550 since implementation of 2009 restructuring plan

Investment welcomed by Ministers Mary Mitchell O’Connor and Pat Breen

Element Six, a world leader in synthetic diamond super-materials and member of The De Beers Group of Companies, has today announced the creation of a further 100 jobs at its Shannon facility as part of a €7million investment at the plant this year.

The investment – officially announced today at a briefing at the plant hosted by Element Six Executive Director of Operations Ken Sullivan and attended by Minister of State at the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Pat Breen and the company’s global CEO Mr. Walter Hühn – will bring to €40million the overall spend by Element Six at Shannon over a four year period.

The positions are in the areas of supply chain, engineering and manufacturing, with recruitment already underway and all posts set to be filled in the first half of this year. It is the latest round of recruitment at the company and will bring overall employment at Element Six in Shannon to 550.

The company has invested heavily in infrastructural projects at the plant over the past three years, including the installation of large-scale diamond synthesis presses to produce diamond materials for industrial use. In addition, high end CNC machines have been designed and installed to process these materials. Today’s announcement signals another round of investment that will enable the synthesis and processing of diamond materials at the Shannon plant for use principally in the Oil and Gas industry.

Announcing the investment and job creation at the plant this morning, Mr Hühn said: “This is a significant moment for Element Six and its staff in Shannon as it is validation of the hard work of our management and staff here in turning the business around. Thanks to a culture of continuous improvement, the use of world-class manufacturing techniques and efficiency and quality gains, our Shannon operations have now taken on additional, global cutting-edge processes, leading to this investment and considerably enhanced employment levels.

“Oil and Gas is a volatile industry but the improvements and investment here at Shannon ensures we are as future-proofed as possible going forward. A key influencer is the operating environment, which is considerably better now in Ireland. In return, we have invested heavily and created high-value jobs for the region.”

Welcoming the announcement, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Mary Mitchell O’Connor, TD, said: “Today’s announcement by Element Six is further evidence of the very competitive operating environment we have in Ireland, including in the regions. In 2009 the company cited the ‘high cost of operating in Ireland’ when it was on the brink of closure. But a combination of the improved operating environment and commitment of staff has transformed operations to a level that the company has more than doubled its employment here since. The addition of 100 extra jobs is a great vote of confidence for the region which has much to offer companies who wish to grow their businesses in Ireland. I wish Element Six and the team every success in the future.”

Speaking at today’s event, Minister for Employment and Small Business Pat Breen stated: “This is a very important day for Element Six, for Shannon and, indeed, the wider Clare and Mid-West area. This announcement is a very strong endorsement of the Shannon Free Zone as a leading destination for innovation and job creation.

“With an international airport on its doorstep, a highly competitive operating environment, available talent and excellent and ever-improving infrastructure, we believe the future is very bright for Shannon as an inward investment location. Element Six’s commitment, not least through its very significant investment in high-end, innovative processes at the plant is very welcome and I wish the team the very best for the future.

“It also highlights the commitment of staff and management here over the years. In 2009 we all feared that this very significant employer would be lost to Clare but thanks to the collective determination, from the management and staff and agencies like the IDA, Element Six’s operations here are entirely reenergised and it is today one of the county’s largest employers with 550 high-value jobs set to be in place by the second half of the year.”

IDA Chief Executive Martin Shanahan said: “Element Six is a global leader in its field and for it to make this level of investment in cutting edge processes in Shannon and have the footprint it now has in Shannon sends a very positive message around the globe about this area as an attractive inward investment location. We have worked closely with Element Six over the years and look forward to continuing that relationship and the company’s continued and valued impact on the Mid-West regional economy here into the future. The Mid-West has been a significant beneficiary of FDI over the past 2 years.”

Ken Sullivan, Element Six Executive Director of Operations said:  “Element Six has a 60 year history at Shannon and today’s announcement very much signals that we have entered a new era in terms of our operations here.  A strong spirit of partnership has sustained us through a very challenging period and, in no small part thanks to the commitment of staff to this partnership approach, we have emerged as one of the biggest and best employers in the Shannon region.

“Element Six is a really exciting place to work and remains one of the best employers in the region. We have many opportunities for career progression at all levels and across multiple disciplines. Given that many of our improvement projects are shop-floor led, strengthens the spirit of partnership and continuous improvement.”