Intel opens new plant in Kildare after multibillion-euro investment

(Yui Mok/PA)
(Yui Mok/PA) (Yui Mok/PA)

Intel’s new production facility in Co Kildare is a “strategic” part of developing Ireland and Europe’s tech autonomy, Leo Varadkar has said.

The Taoiseach also said the chip-making company is “part of Ireland’s economic success story”.

The new Fab 34 manufacturing site in Leixlip will bring thousands of jobs to the region and double Intel’s production space in Ireland.

Fab 34 opening
Fab 34 opening Leo Varadkar speaking at the opening of the new production facility (David Young/PA)

Development began in 2019 and it is the first high-volume manufacturing location for the production of Intel 4 products.

Mr Varadkar visited the plant for the official opening on Friday.

“Intel is an international company of distinction, has been very much part of Ireland’s economic success story, employs a huge number of people here in Leixlip and is really important to Ireland economically in terms of investment and revenue,” he said.

“So a really great day for the country, great day for Leixlip as well, and Kildare, and an important day for Europe.

“Because one of our strategic objectives over the next couple of years is to make sure that more computer chips are manufactured here in the European Union, so that we’re less dependent on other parts of the world, and this is a really important part of that wider objective to build our strategic autonomy.”

Fab 34 opening
Fab 34 opening Simon Coveney at the launch in Leixlip (David Young/PA)

Simon Coveney, Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, said the opening of the Intel plant was a reminder of the importance of multinationals to the Irish economy.

“From a foreign direct investment point of view, it doesn’t get much bigger than what we’re celebrating today,” he said.

“This is a project that has cost 17 billion euros. It has employed 5,000 construction workers since 2019 and it’s resulting in Intel taking on approximately an extra 1,600 people.

“I think that those numbers remind us of just how important large multinationals here in Ireland are to our economy and to its future. This is now the most advanced semiconductor manufacturing facility in Europe by some margin.

“And I think it is a commitment from Intel that they’re here to stay for decades, not just for years, and I think it’s important to emphasise that point.”

Mr Coveney said recent job losses in the tech sector in Ireland were a result of increased costs, and added that the future of the industry was positive.

“In terms of the job losses that we’ve seen this year in the tech sector, I think it’s also important to put that into context, because what we’ve seen this year is a reduction of about 2% in terms of the overall tech numbers in Ireland, which is a fraction of the growth we’ve seen over the last five years,” he said.

“That being said, of course, we need to keep a close eye on that. And the global marketplace for a lot of technology products has changed somewhat and I think the cost of investment and the cost of financing for many of the tech-based projects has become more expensive.

“And so we’ve seen a lot of big names globally, essentially readjust their headcount, that’s how they would describe it. But I think we do need to keep that change in context.

“Of course that impacts on Ireland because so many of them are here.

“I think the medium-term story for tech and tech companies in Ireland, as we’re seeing today, is a very, very positive one.”