Jobs bonanza for north-west

31 Mar 2005

Some 423 new technology jobs are to be created in two projects in Sligo and Donegal. The IDA-supported projects will involve consumer telecoms giant Toucan and travel software player SITA.

Toucan, a consumer telecoms business of IDT Corporation, is to create 300 jobs at a new customer service centre in Sligo. The Toucan product includes ToucanTalk and the ToucanSurf range of internet access services. The ToucanMobile service is planned for launch later this year.

Toucan’s parent company IDT is a multinational carrier that sells to retail and wholesale customers across the globe and is listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

In the second project SITA is to expand its software operation in Letterkenny with the creation of 123 high-quality software development jobs over the next three years.

SITA is owned by the air transport industry and its partners include airlines, airports and air transport organisations throughout the world. Typical services include reservation web bookings and ticketing through check-in, border management and baggage tracking to departure, flight operations and in-flight communications.

The Letterkenny operation was established following SITA’s purchase of Eland Technologies — an Irish software company with operations in Letterkenny and Dublin — in August 2003.

It has been integrated into SITA’s Passenger and Travel Solutions business unit and is responsible for the software development of products and services for that unit. It currently employs 27 people. The Dublin operation, which is responsible for the design and implementation of these products and services, has 28 employees, including finance, sales and marketing personnel.

Both major investments were announced this afternoon by the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Micheál Martin TD, who said: “These are very significant investments for Letterkenny and Sligo and indeed for the whole north-west region. The region has an excellent skills base and its academic institutions are very much geared towards industry and building strong foundations to attract leading international companies such as SITA and IDT. Both investment decisions will further strengthen the developing international and financial services industry in the north-west.”

Commenting on the expansion of the SITA software operation in Letterkenny, the minister said: “It embeds the existing operation in the town and creates additional high-value jobs. It is also a significant endorsement of Letterkenny and the whole north-west as a business location as it demonstrates SITA’s confidence in the area’s ability to support such knowledge-intensive and skills-based activities. It will provide a very welcome boost to the employment opportunities in the region.”

Minister Martin also visited Letterkenny Institute of Technology where he announced the approval of a €2.5m Enterprise Ireland (EI) investment towards a 750sq m extension of the existing business development centre at the institute. The primary objective of the extension is to create additional campus-based incubation facilities to start-up companies and space for commercial and applied research. The minister also announced approval of a further €750k EI investment towards the expansion of the Centre for Applied Research in Marine Biotechnology at the institute.

By John Kennedy