How safe is the future of Intel's Leixlip plant?

Tom Lyons of the Sunday Business Post offered an optimistic opinion on Newstalk Breakfast...

With Intel workers in Leixlip, Co Kildare, awaiting news of job cuts this evening and tomorrow, and an expected 400 positions tipped to go, Tom Lyons of the Sunday Business Post thinks the overall future of the facility is secure.

Speaking on this morning's Newstalk Breakfast, the paper's business editor opined:

"If you look at what Intel did, it invested about $5 billion in Ireland during the time of the bail-out... When there was nobody building anything. Intel had thousands of workers down there. They've invested so much in Leixlip, I don't think there's any concern around [the plant eventually closing] whatsoever.

"They're in a cyclical business. Sometimes products are taking off and they need to hire people, sometimes there are entire categories that go into decline and they need to let people go.

"So I think that this is obviously very bad news for the workers affected, but there isn't any implications for the wider Intel story which has been so positive for Ireland".

Lyons also felt that workers losing their jobs would not struggle to find employment elsewhere.

"These are people who are highly skilled, usually they've got engineering degrees at a minimum. So they are going to find jobs. I think they'll have an issue if they bought property in Kildare; now they're going to be commuting the other way, which won't be much fun.

"But I think right now at the moment with the economy back, there's much more confidence and in other big IT firms are prepared to invest here. It should be possible for them to find jobs.

"But it is going to be a difficult couple of months while they go through that transition".

Looking at where Intel is going in general, as it gets ready to cut 12,000 jobs globally (some 11% of their workforce) and transition away from PCs to the cloud, Lyons said the tech giant has struggled to capitalise one the mobile market and is still waiting for the Internet of Things to pay off.

"Intel has invested $10 billion in mobile, but they don't feel they've gotten the sort of returns.

"The areas that Intel is doing really well in is these data centres and these very, super-fast computers and high-end servers and things like that.

"They just haven't cracked the mobile part of things.

"They're very strong in the Internet of Things, which is everything from wearables to smart devices. Those markets haven't probably taken off as quickly as people expected. So Intel is well-positioned for the Internet of Things but the sales side of things isn't going as quickly as it should be.

"Maybe when that market begins to catch up, that's when Intel will begin to take on more people".