PAYE umbrella contractors with a fondness for the Emerald Isle may be tempted to move to Cork after computer giant Apple announced a major expansion to its European headquarters in the city.

Apple currently employs 2,800 staff at its Hollyhill HQ, a number that will rise by a further 500 over the next 18 months. The company has been in negotiation for several months about the project with Ireland’s Minister for Jobs, Richard Bruton, along with department officials and IDA Ireland.

Mr Bruton said: “The announcement that Apple, one of the world’s leading companies, is expanding its operations in Ireland and creating 500 new jobs is a huge boost for the country. It is a great testament to the company’s workforce, a great vote of confidence in the future of our economy, and it shows what is possible for Ireland at the heart of a stable Europe.”

IT contracting opportunities are likely to be amongst the new jobs on offer as staffing for online services and technical support is set to grow. The Hollyhill plant, which is located in the north of the city, became the company’s first non-US base when it was built in 1980, and has already seen expansion in the recent past thanks to the soaring popularity of the iPod and Apple’s spectacular resurgence in the PC market.

The plant has not been without its ups and downs: 450 jobs were shed at the close of the 90s, prompting some pundits to forecast that the firm was downsizing in Ireland. Today, however, the story is completely different, with Hollyhill playing a pivotal role in Apple’s European, Middle Eastern and African supply chains.

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