Micheál Martin sits at a conference room table in Government buildings, looking at a large screen for a video call with Martin Shanahan and Eamonn Sinnott.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin, TD, on a video call with Martin Shanahan and Eamonn Sinnott. Image: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography

Intel to create 1,600 jobs in Ireland amid ambitious plans for global growth

24 Mar 2021

High-tech roles will be created at Intel’s Leixlip campus following the completion of an expansion begun in 2019. The company has also signalled further growth in Ireland.

Last night (23 March), Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger announced Intel’s new strategy for integrated device manufacturing (IDM). Dubbed ‘IDM 2.0’, the strategy from the US-headquartered computer chip manufacturer will involve the combination of its existing internal factory network with third-party capacity as well as new Intel foundry services.

Intel Ireland general manager Eamonn Sinnott expanded on this announcement, writing in an online post that the IDM 2.0 model “will pave the way for Intel to continue to lead through manufacturing”.

Sinnott revealed that Ireland’s role in this ambitious plan will include the creation of 1,600 permanent high-skilled jobs at the company’s campus in Leixlip, Co Kildare.

These jobs will arrive on completion of a $7bn expansion of the Leixlip facility, which began in 2019. This expansion, due to be completed this year, will more than double Intel’s available manufacturing space in Ireland and will involve more than 5,000 construction workers.

“This investment is designed to bring Intel’s latest-generation 7nm process technology to the region and expand our manufacturing operations,” said Sinnott.

“Furthermore, there will be additional opportunity for investment in the region. As Pat [Gelsinger] explained, we plan to announce the next phase of expansions to support our new foundry business in the US, Europe and other global locations within the year.”

Intel employs more than 10,000 people across Europe, with almost half of these employees based in Ireland.

“The Government’s mission in the coming months and years is to get people back to work and rebuild our economy, while at the same time ensuring Ireland remains well placed to thrive in the new green and digital economy of the future, with high-quality, sustainable jobs,” said Taoiseach Micheál Martin, TD. “Today’s announcement is very welcome for that reason.”

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, TD, added that the announcement represents “another huge vote of confidence in Ireland’s future” from Intel, which has been investing in Ireland since 1989.

“The company has demonstrated not just longevity and resilience in its 32 years in Ireland but an ambition to continuously innovate and develop. That growth has been of enormous benefit to the entire country,” said Varadkar.

IDA Ireland CEO Martin Shanahan said the investment will ensure Ireland has a key role in Intel’s future operations in Europe. “The work undertaken at the Leixlip campus is highly complex, and this investment will bring Intel’s latest generation of 7nm process technology to Ireland and Europe,” he said.

“While this investment is very important to Ireland, it is also very important in a European context, and will help to deliver on the EU’s vision for digital transformation by 2030.”

‘We are setting a course for a new era of innovation and product leadership at Intel’

The EU recently announced a 10-year strategy that seeks to reduce the region’s dependency on the US and Asia for computer chips. The ambition is for Europe to manufacture one-fifth of the world’s semiconductors by 2030 and to build its first quantum computer.

The US is also seeking to expand its manufacturing power amid a global chip shortage. During the Intel event, CEO Gelsinger also announced a $20bn investment for two new fabrication facilities, or fabs, in Arizona at the company’s Ocotillo campus. This US investment will create more than 3,000 permanent jobs.

With the announcement of IDM 2.0, Gelsinger re-affirmed Intel’s plans to continue manufacturing the majority of its products internally. The company will also build on existing relationships with third-party foundries and establish a new standalone business unit, Intel Foundry Services, aiming to become a major provider of foundry capacity in the US and Europe.

“We are setting a course for a new era of innovation and product leadership at Intel,” said Gelsinger. “Intel is the only company with the depth and breadth of software, silicon and platforms, packaging and process with at-scale manufacturing customers can depend on for their next-generation innovations.

“IDM 2.0 is an elegant strategy that only Intel can deliver – and it’s a winning formula. We will use it to design the best products and manufacture them in the best way possible for every category we compete in.”

Reuters reports that shares in Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company, one of Intel’s key competitors in manufacturing advanced computer chips, fell by almost 4pc following Gelsinger’s announcements.

Elaine Burke
By Elaine Burke

Elaine Burke was editor of Silicon Republic until 2023, and is now the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. Elaine joined Silicon Republic in 2011 as a journalist covering gadgets, new media and tech jobs. She later served as managing editor before stepping up as editor in 2019. She comes from a background in publishing and is known for being particularly pernickety when it comes to spelling and grammar – earning her the nickname, Critical Red Pen.

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