US technology giant Apple intends to create 500 support jobs in Cork, southern Ireland, the Irish government said yesterday.

The move by the multi-national, which has generated huge sales of its iPads and iPhones rocket worldwide, will bring total employment at Apple’s Cork operation to about 3,300.

Enterprise and Innovation Minister Richard Bruton described the development as a “huge boost for the country” which is looking to recover from an international bailout.

“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,” Mr Bruton said in a statement.

Cork government lawmaker Dara Murphy said most of the jobs at the Apple operation in the city – which caters for business in Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa – comprise tech support and online sales positions.

The Apple news follows an announcement on Wednesday that the Pittsburgh-based Mylan pharmaceutical manufacturer also plans to expand its Irish operations by creating 500 new jobs by 2016.

The Irish government, led by Prime Minister Enda Kenny, is looking to create 100,000 jobs by 2016.

“This is just the first step in an annual plan to help rebuild our economy,” Mr Kenny said yesterday.

Mr Kenny’s government is battling to reduce Ireland’s unemployment rate of 14.3 per cent, which has led to more than 434,000 people being without work.

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