Johnson & Johnson could make further investment in Limerick

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton pictured with Education Minister Jan OSullivan and Steve Wrenn, J&J at the announcement in Limerick. Picture Liam Burke/Press 22
ONE of the most senior figures in Johnson & Johnson says he sees “no reason” the company cannot bring more jobs to Limerick.

ONE of the most senior figures in Johnson & Johnson says he sees “no reason” the company cannot bring more jobs to Limerick.

Steve Wrenn, vice-president of J&J’s global applications services, was speaking as the pharmaceutical giant announced 100 new jobs with the creation of a new development centre in the University of Limerick, its third major investment in the city after Vistakon and Ethicon.

The move has been hailed as a “great day for Limerick” by Finance Minister Michael Noonan, and “very good news indeed” by Deputy Kieran O’Donnell.

Limerick beat off competition from a number of other locations worldwide for the investment by Information Technology Services.

The centre will be used to develop state-of-the-art software to aid the development of Johnson and Johnson’s various businesses worldwide.

The company hopes to have its first staff on site by next month, and is looking for graduates in science, technology, engineering and maths.

“We are looking for a mix of senior people to get it going, but also people coming out of university who can start their careers. We need the entry level people to push the people who have been around for longer,” Mr Wrenn said, referring to the need for a “creative tension”.

Johnson & Johnson has already invested millions of euro in Limerick, employing 600 people at contact lens manufacturer Vistakon in the National Technology Park, and in April last year, it announced plans to develop an €80m manufacturing facility for Ethicon Biosurgery.

Mr Wrenn said the footprint the company already has here is key in its decision to announce a further investment.

“We came here a year ago for a leadership meeting, and we were so impressed with what they are doing. I stayed in touch with Barry (O’Sullivan, Vistakon manager) and it spawned this centre. It was the technology there, which started this,” he said.

Mr Wrenn played up the prospect of more jobs being created with Information Technology Shared Services, saying: “I see no reason if we get the stream of people we need to do great work, and with Johnson and Johnson being a growing company, that this site cannot grow along with it.

Deputy O’Donnell said: “The real significance here is that new cutting-edge jobs are again being created in Limerick based on collaboration between our third-level institutions and innovative employers. It’s a real testament to the quality of staff available here. Limerick is establishing itself as a world-class hub for IT investment.”

Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan said: “What is being announced today has tremendous potential and is a great opportunity for this region.”

Connections between Limerick’s third level institutions have “really delivered” she added.

Finance Minister Noonan added: “These are key jobs when you have a company like Johnson and Johnson, as a world leader in their field. It is not just 100 jobs, it is the potential for the future, as it continues to develop here.”