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Speech by An Taoiseach Enda Kenny, T.D. at the Jobs Announcement at the Microsoft EMEA Inside Sales Centre

Good afternoon and thank you for your warm welcome.
I had the opportunity to see some of your new products on the way in. You are really at the cutting edge of current technology.
It’s great to be here today and see the enthusiasm and energy on display and to be part of this announcement of 600 jobs in sales and technology.
This is yet another milestone for Microsoft and its commitment to Ireland. Microsoft and Ireland have worked great together across the years.
The investment in your state of the art campus in Leopardstown is a tribute to the dedicated leadership since the company first began its first manufacturing operation in Ireland in 1985 with 100 staff. The company has grown substantially since then to over 1200 and now set to increase again by 600 people.
I know that as a global organisation with offices around the world, all competing for investment and new projects, that Dublin won out as one of four global sites. The confidence you have and continue to show in Ireland and its people is deeply appreciated. I can assure you that your confidence is not misplaced.
It also shows how much our capital has to offer and how attractive it is for graduates and multi lingual people from all over the world, to come here to work, and live. It demonstrates great leadership and business by your Irish management team.
Our offer as a country remains strong – a strong commitment to our EU membership, a competitive tax regime, policy stability, a business-friendly environment and a skilled workforce with high levels of education.
Over the lifetime of my Government, we have worked to create the right conditions for companies like yours. We have ensured that Ireland is currently achieving a large increase in graduate output from third level ICT courses, driven in part by Government Actions under our ICT Action Plan. Our National Skills Strategy and recent Action Plan for Education will build further on our skills offering.
As you all know Ireland’s software sector is thriving, with 9 of the top 10 international companies now having operations here. Our reputation as a centre of software excellence is unrivalled in Europe.
We have worked hard to make Ireland one of the best places in the world to do business, and we will continue to make the country as attractive as possible, across a range of business needs.
Just two weeks ago I launched the Action Plan for Jobs 2017 alongside Minister Mitchell O’Connor. It places a strong focus on driving enterprise growth and maintaining and improving our competitiveness. We have set a target of creating an additional 45,000 jobs this year. I am delighted that the jobs being announced today will contribute towards this.
We are also driving implementation of Innovation 2020, which sets out our strategy for R&D, science and technology, including a roadmap to deliver on the vision for Ireland becoming a global innovation leader by focusing on excellence, talent and impact.
I want to briefly refer to Brexit. On Wednesday in the Mansion House I set out the Government’s clear strategy for the period ahead. I am adamant that we will address the opportunities and challenges of the UK leaving the EU and already we have set a series of actions in motion. A key priority is to minimise the impact on trade and the economy. We intend to negotiate from a position of strength, as one of the 27 Member States.
We remain a strong and committed member of the EU, aware of the many advantages of EU membership, including bilateral trade agreements with third countries and a common predictable legal and regulatory framework. I think it is self evident from the diverse workforce represented here today how important this is to Ireland.
To conclude, I wish you all well in the future with the roll out of the jobs for the Inside Sales Centre and very best wishes for all your employees at your new premises in Leopardstown.

Thank you.