Re: Re: Developments in Cork

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Irish Examiner 03 April 2007

Fears as bio-tech giant delays €800m factory project

By Eoin English
US BIOTECHNOLOGY giant Amgen last night announced a two-year delay in the development of its €800 million manufacturing plant in Cork, raising concerns about the project’s future.

The company said the decision to reschedule the opening of the plant, with a promise of 1,100 jobs, was taken after a global review of its operations. The first phase of the plant in East Cork — bulk manufacturing capacity-building — was due to open by 2010 but will not open until 2012 at the earliest.
The development of the second phase of the plant — the formulation and milling facility — has also been delayed.

The hiring of staff will also be stalled.

A company spokesperson said Amgen remained committed to the project “in “terms of overall investment, plant capacity and overall job numbers”.

She said the initial schedule announced last year was aggressive. However, the total employment figure of 1,100 would be reached, she added.

Enterprise Minister Micheál Martin was due to turn the sod on the site at a ceremony on Thursday week, but this has been cancelled.

Mr Martin was briefed on the delay by senior company management yesterday.

“It was a productive meeting during which they outlined the new schedule,” he said. “It is important to note that Amgen remains very positive about Cork and firmly committed to their investment in East Cork.

“The engineering, design and ground work continues.”

Site work started on the massive plant last November. Amgen has already hired up to 130 people.

Some will continue to work on the Carrigtwohill project but others will be Local Labour councillor, John Mulvihill, described the delay as worrying.

“I am very concerned about this being the thin end of the wedge,” he said.

“There have been a lot of job losses in East Cork in recent years. We all thought Amgen would solve a lot of our unemployment problems. But this news is a major blow to the East Cork region.” re-deployed.

The Amgen investment was last year hailed as the biggest investment in Cork in 20 years.

Three appeals against the project have been lodged with An Bord Pleanála.

A ruling is expected in mid- July

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