Apple to expand key Irish operation as demand for products grows

Apple building (Hollyhill, Cork, Ireland, exterior 001)

Apple is considering a major expansion of its key Irish operation just months after completing a massive €300 million (about $335 million) development in the country, according to Monday.

Already employing more than 4,000 people in Ireland and its Cork plant in Hollyhill, the latest expansion should deliver a multi-million euro boost to the move.

The publication learned from sources that Apple wants to extend a plant into a Cork County Council land that for 20 years has served as a Traveller halting site.

It’s said the Cupertino firm could almost double its available factory space, although a smaller expansion is also being considered. The report doesn’t detail what products Apple would build with the extra factory space.

For what it’s worth, the existing Cork manufacturing facility is mostly being used to assemble Macs rather than iOS devices. In addition, many European companies and suppliers are helping build Apple products and support operations around the world.

For instance, huge glass panes for the upcoming Apple Campus 2 facility, known informally as the iSpaceship, are being built in Germany.

German maker Seele, which produces this curved glass, has had to double the size of its production facility to accommodate the project.

Apple opened offices in Ireland back in 1981, but just a decade ago “had major doubts over the future of its entire Irish operation.”

Despite controversies in the United States and the United Kingdom over Apple’s use of Ireland as a safe tax haven, the iPhone maker has already committed to a €850 million (about $950 million) data centre in Galway, said to create about a hundred new IT jobs while adding millions of euros to the Cork construction industry.

As reported previously, the data center in County Galway’s Athenry, along with another one in Denmark’s central Jutland, represent Apple’s biggest European projects to date that will introduce “some of our most advanced green building designs yet.”

“We are grateful for Apple’s continued success in Europe and proud that our investment supports communities across the continent,” CEO Tim Cook was quoted as saying in a media release.

Thanks to its operations on the continent, Apple now supports about 672,000 European jobs, of which 530,000 jobs directly related to the development of iOS apps.

And since the App Store’s debut in 2008, European developers have earned more than €6.6 billion, or $7.46 billion, through the worldwide sale of apps, as of February 2015.

The company now directly employs 18,300 people across 19 European countries.