Local TD Denis Naughten has welcomed the announcement by Huawei that its Athlone operation is to form part of plans to invest €70 million in research and development in the Republic of Ireland over the next three years.
Huawei currently employs about 250 people across its sites in Dublin, Cork and Athlone, and this new investment, which will see a doubling of its investment in Ireland over the next three years will be focused on developments in video, cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI) and site-reliability engineering.
“There is no doubt that the Government decision, which I was part of, to designate Athlone as a new potential city is helping to attract jobs investment into the region and ensuring that it is fast becoming the Silicon Heartlands. The town is set to have a bigger percentage of the workforce employed in software development than any other town or city in Ireland or the UK,” stated Denis Naughten.
“With the construction underway of an advance factory in Athlone, this will make the town and the surrounding counties far more attractive for new foreign jobs investment such as the announcement by Huawei.
“As Communications Minister I had the opportunity to promote Athlone as a location for expansion for Huawei and as a result I now hope that this announcement will see a significant jobs boost locally over the coming months and years.
“With current employment levels in the software development sector locally, along with job announcements and others to be formally made, Athlone is set to have 15% of its workforce in the software sector which puts it well ahead of Dublin City and its Silicon Docks.
“Towns such as Roscommon have an abundance of ready to move into office space and with a new incubation hub operational in Ballinasloe other towns in the region are set to benefit from this major growth in the tech sector in Ireland’s Heartlands.
“The objective of creating a hub in Athlone and using that to bring more investment into the surrounding towns of Tullamore, Mullingar, Longford, Roscommon and Ballinasloe is clearly set out in the Government’s Project Ireland 2040. This is a designation that I spearheaded through my engagement with Government.
“Apart from direct employment these multinational companies have a hugely positive effect on the local economy with over eight jobs being created for every 10 jobs in multinational companies,” concluded Denis Naughten.