THE move by Uber to open its first European office in Limerick will “transform the city and help bring life back”.
That’s according to Finance Minister Michael Noonan who has joined Taoiseach Enda Kenny and IDA bosses in saluting the €4m investment from the San Francisco firm.
With 300 new roles, it is the biggest jobs announcement for the city centre in many years, and it is hoped it will have a knock-on economic benefit to city shops.
The City Business Association in particular has previously said there is no point in extra cafes opening if there is not the workforce to support them.
“We are particularly delighted to welcome a word leading company, operating at the cutting edge of innovative technology to Limerick city centre,” said Mr Noonan.
“Uber will become a major part of the Limerick economy. Ireland is proving to be a hugely attractive country for foreign investment, especially Limerick which has a history of attracting innovative technology companies due to our university graduates.”
Wecloming the news, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the investment in Limerick was “testament to the skills and talent of the Irish workforce. I very much welcome this decision which demonstrates once again Ireland’s attractiveness for foreign direct investment.
“This will be Uber’s first customer support hub of its type outside the United States, confirming Ireland as the location of choice for leading, innovative companies, and will be a welcome boost for Limerick and the wider region,” he added.
The investment was backed by IDA support and chief executive Martin Shanahan said Uber’s “presence will provide a huge boost to Limerick. The city is already home to an array of overseas companies, many in the technology space.
“This is the ultimate example of foreign investment making a real difference in a regional location, and I look forward to seeing Uber roll out its ambitious plans in the period ahead,” he added.
Cllr Ger Mitchell, Deputy Mayor of the City and County of Limerick, said Uber’s planned investment of €4m in the city this year was “a clear indication of Limerick’s growing status as an attractive location for investment.”
“I am delighted to see that Limerick has been chosen as one of the company’s target locations for development and growth as one of its growing network of customer service hubs. The growing multinational company’s decision to invest in the region should also serve to inject renewed confidence in other multinational and indigenous, high-tech knowledge-based firms who are considering investing in Ireland or expanding their existing operations,” he said.
Cllr Jerry O’Dea, Mayor of Limerick Metropolitan District, said the “positive, collaborative working relationship” that has been established between Limerick City and County Council and regional development agencies such as Enterprise Ireland and the IDA to promote Limerick and the wider region as a location for investment is delivering “real and tangible results”.
“This is fantastic news for Limerick considering it follows so soon after Dell announced the creation of 100 new highly skilled engineer jobs in Raheen, viagogo.com confirmed it is to open a purpose built international operations centre in Limerick, and Vistakon announced it was investing €100m in its manufacturing operations in Limerick,” he said.
“The availability of highly skilled graduates from our third level institutes and the region’s growing status as an attractive investment location have no doubt also been key factors in Uber’s decision to locate a key element of its operations in Limerick,” added Mayor O’Dea.
Uber, which provides a platform to allow drivers offer journeys in their cars using a smartphone app, will employ 50 people immediately.