Derry has lost out on a major employment boost which could have brought up to 5,000 pharmaceutical jobs to the city, the Journal has learned.

It had been hoped that the Global Pharmaceutical Centre of Excellence (GCPE) would set up a state-of-the-art facility in Derry which would attract leading international drugs companies.

However, the GCPE has announced that it will now establish the multi-million pound development in Tralee, County Kerry, instead of Derry.

Officials from the company had been deliberating between Derry and Tralee for several months. During that time representatives from GCPE visited Derry several times and met with key political and business leaders.

It is believed that the difference in corporation tax between North and south was a major factor in the company opting for Tralee instead of Derry.

Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson expressed her disappointment at the jobs blow.

“I am obviously disappointed that we have been unsuccessful this time in attracting GPCE to Derry but I can assure everyone that it was not through a lack of effort or commitment from across the political and business spectrum.

“We put forward an ambitious and far reaching business plan with the assistance and support of Invest NI and the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment,” she said.

However, Ms Anderson said Derry could still be in line for a share of Tralee’s spoils.

“GPCE has now taken the decision to locate Phase One of its project in Tralee but we will continue to make a case for Phase Two for Derry. I thank Rory Doyle CEO of GPCE for his time and serious consideration of the Derry bid and look forward to working closely with him in anticipation of future projects.”

The junior minister also said the united effort made in the bid to attract the pharmaceutical company must continue.

“I will continue to lobby for jobs for Derry and there are other projects that we are currently working on, some of which we hope will come to fruition.

“One of the attributes commented on by investors who recently visited Derry was the determined ‘can do’ attitude displayed by the many people they met. I want to build on that impression and I would appeal to all political representatives and business leaders to do likewise so potential investors will be influenced and encouraged to come here by the positive attitude that they encounter,” she said.