Potential for 3,850 jobs as Intel gets planning permission to build new Kildare plant

10 Oct 2017

Image: Dragon Images/Shutterstock

No investment has been announced, but Intel is betting big on the future.

Chip giant Intel has been granted planning permission for a potential new manufacturing facility in Leixlip.

An Bord Pleanála granted Intel permission with a number of conditions concerning amenities in the surrounding area.

But, before anyone breaks out the champagne, Intel confirmed that no actual investment has been announced. Indeed, it is par for the course for manufacturing giants such as Intel to seek planning permission in advance of future expansions.

It basically means the company’s Irish operations have their ducks in a row to compete with other Intel locations, such as Arizona or Israel, for future investments.

Whether that investment comes to pass will depend on the future direction of computing, the demand for chips in everything from data centres to drones, and the scale of chip technologies as wafers go from 22nm to 14nm, and even 7nm as Moore’s Law continues to hold steady.

If the company decided to proceed with the project, it is expected that roughly 3,000 people would be employed during the construction phase. Once complete, around 850 people would work at the site.

A previous expansion at the plant resulted in 5,000 construction jobs.

Chipping away at the future

According to The Irish Times, the chip giant has been given the go-ahead for a two-storey development that will provide 90,00 sq m of additional floor space at its existing campus at Collinstown, Leixlip, Co Kildare.

The planning permission comes with conditions spanning environmental concerns, traffic safety, air safety, wildlife protection and public safety.

If it goes ahead, it will include proposals to widen the R148 roadway that skirts the campus.

Intel first came to Ireland in 1989 and commenced operations in a car dealership in Palmerstown in Dublin.

Today, Intel employs close to 5,000 people in Ireland and has invested $13.9bn at the Leixlip site so far.

Infographic: Intel

Updated, 8.35am, 12 October 2017: This article was updated to clarify that Intel first commenced operations in Ireland in a car dealership in Palmerstown, Dublin, not on the Naas Road.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years