big loss | 

Galway looks set to miss out on 10,000 jobs as Intel looks to German plant

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger. Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg

Adrian Weckler

Galway looks set to miss out on a major Intel project worth thousands of jobs and billions of euro in investment.

The semiconductor giant has reportedly chosen Germany for its next chip factory.

The Industrial Development Agency (IDA) had selected a former Defence Forces firing range in Oranmore as a “preferred site” for the new chip fabrication facility, which is likely to employ up to 10,000 people.

It is the second time Galway has missed out on a major investment from a tech giant. Planning delays caused Apple to ditch its plans for a data centre in Athenry two years ago.

Intel employs nearly 5,000 people in Ireland, mainly at its plant in Leixlip, Co Kildare.

However, the new production facility – which is being built to allow sectors such as car manufacturers to design and build their own chips – would have attracted an investment budget of more than €10bn, with 10,000 direct jobs created and support for thousands more.

In September, Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger said Ireland was one of 10 shortlisted countries for the new investment facility.

“We have got nominations for sites from across European countries, some 70 different sites,” Mr Gelsinger told RTÉ at the time.

“We are down to about 10 finalists now that have sort of met the bar and Ireland is clearly one of those.”

However, the size of the German market and recruitment pool, together with less pressure on utilities such as housing and public transport, may have swung the decision .

A spokesperson for Intel Ireland said no decision has yet been made.

“Intel executives are having constructive investment conversations with government leaders in multiple EU countries,” she said.

“We are encouraged by the many possibilities to support the EU’s digital agenda and 2030 semiconductor ambitions.

“While current negotiations are ongoing and confidential, we plan to be making an announcement as soon as possible.”

According to Bloomberg, the semiconductor fabrication plant will likely be built in Saxony, with the German regions of Saxony-Anhalt and Bavaria also in the running for the new factory.

Intel is budgeting as much as €23bn for new plants and equipment in 2022, up from roughly €14bn this year.

According to Bloomberg, its global push to increase capacity will include adding facilities in France and Italy.

France will reportedly be home to a research and design centre and Italy will be the location of a test and assembly factory, according to the news wire, citing unnamed sources,

The French R&D centre may be built in either Paris or Grenoble, while the Italian test and assembly plant is set to cost around $10bn.

Intel and government officials there are still negotiating on the location of the site, with Sicily being one area under consideration, according to Bloomberg’s sources.

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