Bid to block Derry’s 300 pharmaceutical jobs

Foyle MLA Martina Anderson pictured with Dr Peter (1406MM28)
Foyle MLA Martina Anderson pictured with Dr Peter (1406MM28)

The Republic’s leading job creation body is attempting to block moves which could see a major pharmaceutical company setting up in Derry,

IDA Ireland officials met last night with representatives of an international pharmaceutical company considering creating a base in Derry which could create almost 300 jobs, with the further potential of several thousand jobs in the future.

Representatives from the Global Pharmaceutical Centre of Excellence (GPCE) visited Derry last month to look at possible locations to set up state-of-the-art laboratory facilities. The representatives said negotiations about the final location for the facility were at an advanced stage and that it was between Derry and Kerry.

During the visit, which was arranged by Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson, the representatives from the company, including chief executive Rory Doyle, and member of the Board of Governance, Dr Peter Milner, praised what they described as the “can do” attitude of Derry and the co-operation between job creation body, Invest NI, and the authorities at Stormont.

Dr Milner, a leading expert in the pharmaceutical field with dozens of patents to his name, said he was particularly impressed with Derry after the visit. However, many people in Kerry have raised concerns that the jobs could come to Derry, believing they had secured the major employment boost for the county.

Mr Doyle from GPCE told media in the South that the jobs could still come to Kerry but added that “a hard decision” would have to be made within the next three weeks.

Sources within GPCE were quoted as describing the lure of Derry as “very attractive” given the level of support on offer. It is also being reported that GCPE officials privately believe that locating in Derry presents the best option for the firm. IDA officials have suggested that such speculation is unhelpful and talks between the IDA, GPCE officials, Enterprise Ireland and Shannon Development were set to take place last night.