Footloose Pharmaceutical Industry in Cork
Pharmaceutical Industry in Ireland
• Many pharmaceutical (pharma) industries are
• 9 of the top 10 pharma companies in the world
have plants in Ireland (e.g. Pfizer in
• The pharma industry employs roughly 47,000
people in Ireland and its exports are worth
Pharmaceutical Industry in Cork
• A large proportion of Ireland’s healthcare and pharma
industries are located in Cork.
• County Cork accounts for nearly half of the total
employment in the pharma sector.
• Pharmaceutical manufacturing is concentrated in Cork
harbour since the late 1970’s. Over 20 plants operate
in the area today.
Factors leading to the development of
pharma industry in Cork Harbour:
• Human Factors
o Government Policy
o Labour Force
• Physical Factors
o Water supply
o Sheltered deep water port
o Energy supplies
Since the 1950s Irish government policy has encouraged
the location of pharma industry in Cork Harbour by:
• Investing in foreign-owned MNCs in order to modernise
• Grants and tax incentives for chemical, pharma and
• Investing in education to ensure the provision of an
• Setting up the Industrial Development Authority (IDA)
• Joining the EEC (EU) in 1973 which gave MNCs located
in Ireland access to the large European market.
• The Buchanan Report (1968) identified Cork as one of
several growth centres for investment in social and
industrial development because of its labour force.
• Cork has a young and educated workforce.
• The Cork area can provide an excellent quality of life
to its residents and many companies use the social
factors as an important attraction for their executive
Pharma industries require sites with efficient water
supplies for two reasons:
1. The pharma industry creates chemically
contaminated wastewater which must be diluted by
mixing with river or sea water. (Effluent discharge
systems were built at Ringaskiddy).
2. The production process requires large amounts of
fresh water. (Cork County Council created the
largest supply of processed water in the country).
• The harbour has been a natural advantage for
industrial location in the area.
• Cork Harbour is a natural, sheltered, deep
• Cork Harbour is located close to the major
shipping lanes between Europe and America.
• The manufacture of pharmaceuticals requires
large amounts of energy so the Kinsale Gas
Field was an important attraction.
• In addition,The ESB built a gas-fired power
station at Aghada near the harbour in 1980 to
supply the growing industrial demand.
The Scale and Impact of the
Pharma Industry in Ireland: