Kildare can be the EU’s ‘chip hub’ if new funding secured, Simon Coveney is told

Irish Independent tech

Tech / Irish Independent tech 3 Views comments

The north Kildare area can become “a major force” in the semiconductor sector – but the Government must fight for funding from the new EU microchip programme if this is to be achieved, Enterprise Minister Simon Coveney has been warned.

large supply of available zoned land is a key advantage for the area over other regions in Europe – if the Government can secure a significant portion of new funding that is becoming available at European Union level for growing the sector, according to a letter sent to the minister by the County Kildare Chamber.

A major site next to the existing Intel plant – already one of the most significant chip producers in Europe – is seen as an ideal location for microchip sector developments, it is understood.

“We ask that the Government sets out an ambitious plan, from design of chips to advanced manufacturing, in order to secure a large proportion of the €45bn EU fund, said the letter.

The funding is being offered to European Union member states as part of the European Chips Act – a plan to invest in the production of microchips, and also to fund research and development in the sector, in order to double the production of chips by 2030.

‘Kildare is well positioned to establish itself as a key European player’

It comes at a time when geopolitical tensions have raised fears in both the United States and Europe about the concentration of chip production in the Far East, particularly in Taiwan.

“We write to you minister, asking that every step is taken by the Irish Government to ensure Ireland accesses the maximum from this funding stream for research and innovation and investment in the ever-changing requirement for a skilled workforce for the semiconductor industry,” wrote Sinead Rónan, who is public affairs manager with the Kildare Chamber.

“Kildare is well positioned to establish itself as a key European player in the global semiconductors arena, given the success of Intel in the north of the county – with its associated sectoral service contracting industries, which themselves employ hundreds of technical professionals in support of the thousands already engaged by the multinational in Leixlip.”

Kildare had “a large supply of available zoned land in the immediate area, with investors in situ to ensure Kildare can become a leading driver within the semiconductor industry in Europe”, she said.

“Kildare is an ideal location, with a world-class university in Maynooth, a young and highly skilled workforce, the attractiveness of our region, coupled with the quality of life we enjoy – and our excellent infrastructure provision and connectivity ensures we are well placed to drive innovation,” she wrote.

This would require strong relationships between governments, technology owners, manufacturers, and end-users, she wrote.