Tuesday, 19 October 2010 08:29
Consensus between political parties might be hard to reach on certain issues, but not when it comes to welcoming jobs for a hard-hit region. So it came to pass in Ballina yesterday (Monday) when Hollister ULC announced a €65 million investment in expanding its existing manufacturing facility on the Foxford Road. By adding up to 75,000 square feet to the facility, Hollister will be in a position to create 250 new jobs, with something in the region of 200 jobs coming on stream in the construction phase.
Hollister Ireland, a wholly owned subsidiary of Illinois-based Hollister Incorporated, was established in Ballina in 1976 and currently employs 330 people in new product development and manufacturing.
The new investment, supported by the Irish government through IDA Ireland, will allow for increased manufacturing capability in the company's ostomy and continence care product ranges, and support training and development for both
new and existing employees.
Hollister chairman and CEO Alan F. Herbert said the decision to invest in the Ballina facility was made 'after very thoughtful consideration'.
He explained: "This is a key strategic initiative for our company, and the support we have received from local business leaders and the IDA lets us know that we have made the right choice for the continued success of our company and for the people who depend on our products and services.
"Our overriding goal and commitment is to make a difference – to add value to healthcare and to improve the quality of life for the people who use our products."
Making the announcement yesterday, the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, Batt O'Keeffe, said the extension of the Hollister facility, expected to be finished by the end of next year, would have an 'enormous economic impact' on the west of Ireland in general.
"Ireland hosts 15 of the world's top 25 medical device firms and Hollister's ambitious expansion plan demonstrates to the global investor community that our economic recovery is possible and we remain an attractive location for advanced manufacturing."
Minister O'Keeffe was joined by Ballina native and Minister of State for Labour Affairs, Dara Calleary, who said he worked closely with IDA Ireland in securing the project. Hollister's announcement – one of the biggest in terms of jobs in Ireland this year – demonstrates that Mayo has what it takes to attract, retain and grow multinational players in the highly competitive global healthcare market, he added.
In welcoming the announcement, Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny, TD, said it represented a vote of confidence in Ballina and its workforce, and also a vote of confidence in Ireland. His party colleagues, Deputy John O'Mahony and MEP Jim Higgins also welcomed the jobs boost for Ballina and the western region.
Meanwhile, the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland said Hollister's expansion needs to be augmented by improved infrastructure into the west of Ireland.
He stated: "Mayo has a portfolio of world-class foreign direct investment manufacturing companies employing 3,000 people directly and a further 6,000 in indirect employment. For these businesses the sub-standard N5 east-west link remains a contentious issue. The completion of the N5 upgrade is vital to support important high value jobs and investments in the Mayo region."
With infrastructure in mind, Minister Calleary has announced his campaign to get the N26 redesign completed as quickly as possible with the 'Get The N26 Moving' initiative (see daracalleary.ie). "When we get the N26 moving, we can reasonably expect an increase in tourism, business investment and – most importantly – jobs."
Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, Mr. Batt O' Keefe shares a joke with Helena Cleary and Minister Dara Calleary in Ballina yesterday. Photo: David Farrell Photography.