Intel has handed a much needed boost to the flagging Irish technology sector by confirming that its Dublin fabrication plant will be the first high-volume producer of 90-nanometer transistor gates. The gates will be due for mass production in the second half of 2003.
A team of 125 people will be assigned to the project, working closely with the company's Oregon fabrication plant.
Transistor gates sit on silicon wafers at the development stage in microprocessor development, and the company maintained that it has faith in the Irish skills pool to deliver.
"Our confidence is based on how we share and maximise our knowledge, and the Dublin plant has proved itself in its development of the Pentium line over the years," said Bill Riley, public affairs manager for Intel Ireland.
Riley denied that European Union grants and Irish government incentives had influenced the decision to stick with the Dublin facility. "A tiny proportion comes from those sources, but that wasn't a deciding factor," he explained.
The news comes hot on the heels of devastating job cuts for both Irish and foreign IT companies based in the country once dubbed the 'Celtic Tiger'.
Irish security expert Baltimore Technologies' woes are well documented, and $100m US hosting outfit Worldport, once lauded by Taoiseach Bertie Ahern as "a great endorsement of government policy" was shut down due to lack of demand last November after just a year in operation.
Added to this, Ireland's Iona Technologies has experienced trouble, and US companies General Semiconductor and Tellabs have been among several to cut jobs in the country.
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