Kerry Centre to have ‘very significant effect’ on the Naas, Kildare economy

The development of the Kerry Group’s Technology and Innovation Centre will have a very significant effect on the local economy.

The development of the Kerry Group’s Technology and Innovation Centre will have a very significant effect on the local economy.

That’s according to the Group’s Director of Corporate Affairs Frank Hayes who told the Leinster Leader that as far as they were concerned, the project would start immediately.

By the end of this year 80 people will have moved into vacant office space in Millennium Park, rising to another 80 by the end of the first quarter of 2013.

“We want to get this up and running immediately,” he explained, adding that they hoped to embarks and conclude and planning process as quickly as possible.

He said that all of the 900 jobs would be “high value” jobs and that he expected it would employ large numbers of people living in or moving to the Naas and Kildare area.

“People will be living here and bringing their families here.

“There will also be significant opportunities for young graduates to develop their careers on this site.”

Mr. Hayes explained that idea behind the development is to create a research centre to service customers of the Kerry Group, specifically in the European, Middle East and African markets.

They have a similar type development in Wisconsin.

He stressed its value to the Kerry Groups business, saying that as well as the research and innovation aspects of the development, there would also be a major technical facility and associated services.

“Our regional management team, plus some of the key global business services, such as procurement, will be moving there.”

Mr. Hayes said that the primary focus of the centre would be key specialist research in conjunction with major global food, beverage and pharmaceutical companies.

“We work entirely in collaboration with our customers. This Centre will allow us to work with customers to dd new functionality, nutrional lines to their products

“We can also produce new concepts for their businesses or manufacturing insights.

He said that there would be a constant stream of customers coming to the Centre and that the easy access to the motorway network and the airport were obvious attractions for the Group is choosing this site.

“Without the customer visits, there is no reason to exist.” The Wisconsin centre is near O’Hare airport in Chicago, he added.

The kind of people the Group foresees employing in Naas include food technologists, food scientists, organic scientists, bio-chemist, flavouring technologists and even cullinary chefs!

On the business support side of things they will also have regulatory specialists, technologists, management team and group business services such as HR.

While Naas, not being in the BMW region, does not qualify for certain supports, by virtue of the fact that it is a research facility, it will qualify for research programmes, is eligible for some grant assistance, Mr. Hayes explained.

- Conor McHugh