US tech giant Apple will create around 1,000 jobs at its European headquarters in Ireland by mid-2017, chief executive Tim Cook announced Wednesday during a visit to the country.
Apple has had a base at the southern city of Cork since 1980 and employs 5,000 people in Ireland.
"We're expanding that to over 6,000 across the next year and a half," Cook said in a lecture at Trinity College Dublin university.
"That's almost a quarter of our European workforce and we're continuing to expand our facility there as well, which is our largest in Europe."
Cook met with Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny, who said the jobs plan was a sign of Ireland's economic recovery broadening.
"Apple's plans for new facilities at their Cork campus that can house a further 1,000 jobs is a very welcome boost of confidence," he said.
"This continued expansion by the company is testament to the quality of the talent pool, the infrastructure and the business environment that this country has to offer and further cements Apple as one of the leading employers in Ireland."
European Affairs and Data Protection Minister Dara Murphy added in a statement: "I am delighted that the fruits of recovery are now being felt not just in the Dublin area, but around the country."
Cook will be visiting Apple employees at its main office, perched on a hill overlooking Ireland's second city of Cork.
Apple was one of the first tech firms to set up in Ireland and has been followed by many top names such as Twitter, Microsoft and Google, earning the country the moniker "Europe's Silicon Valley".
Many US companies looking for a European base are drawn by Ireland's English-speaking skilled workforce and its highly competitive tax rates, which have drawn controversy.
Cook said the European headquarters was "our most diverse offices on the planet, operationally and culturally".
"In our offices in Cork you are as likely to hear a French accent or a German or an Italian accent as you are to hear an accent from County Cork," he said.
Apple will be expanding its campus to accomodate the new employees. It has invested nearly 130 million euros ($140 million) in the site since 2012.
Beyond its employees, the IDA Ireland foreign direct investment agency estimates that Apple supports a further 13,000 jobs in the republic.
Apple also announced it was partnering with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland to support research in offshore energy technology.
"This will support innovative new ways of capturing wave energy and converting it to renewable electricity in support of their global commitment to powering all facilities with renewable energy," IDA Ireland said.
Apple is still awaiting the European Union's judgement on its tax deal with Ireland.
Tax deals between EU member states and companies are not in themselves illegal and the firms involved insist they fully comply with the tax laws where they operate.
But they have run afoul of the European Commission's tough rules on state aid, which are designed to ensure fair competition. It argues that the deals unfairly benefit bigger companies at the expense of smaller, often less influential rivals.
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