Significant job creation is continuing to take place in the Dublin area despite the difficult global economic environment. Indeed, Dublin continues to perform better than the rest of the country in terms of job creation. As regards attracting overseas industry, IDA Ireland's strategy for Dublin is to attract and expand major foreign direct investment projects while moving up the value chain.
Over the past 18 months, investment in eight significant projects with a job potential of 2,230 has been announced for Dublin. Job creation arising from these projects will continue throughout 2004. In addition, I announced yesterday that Merrill Lynch, one of the world's leading financial management and advisory companies, is opening a second office in Dublin. The numbers employed in Dublin will increase by up to 300 over the next four years, bringing employment in Ireland up to 700 people when the project is fully implemented.
As regards indigenous companies, Enterprise Ireland and the Dublin enterprise boards are continuing to work with new and existing clients in the Dublin area. Enterprise Ireland is also encouraging companies to adopt new technologies and move up the value chain.