Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste and Enterprise Minister Frances Fitzgerald were on hand for the official opening of the €85 million extension at Bausch + Lomb earlier today.
The new state-of-the-art facility, which is built on a 17 acre site beside the companies’ base in the Waterford Business Park is single biggest investment they’ve made in Waterford since their foundation here.
In all 300 jobs will be created as a result of the development.
175 jobs were announced in April of 2015 and another 125 have now been added to that figure.
Some of those positions have already been filled.
In 2014 Bausch + Lomb’s parent company Valeant, a Canadian multinational, said there would need to be 200 job losses and up to 20% pay cuts for the remaining thousand or so staff to keep the company operational
Agreement was eventually reached with unions on slightly lower pay cuts and the company agreed to invest in new facilities and an extension to the plant.
Speaking at this afternoon’s event, The Taoiseach paid tribute to the company for investing in Waterford.
“Today’s announcement of 125 new jobs, 125 new opportunities for people, represents exactly the kind of future that is possible in the years to come,” The Taoiseach said, adding that it will further strengthen the existing relationship between the company and the people of Waterford.
“I know that all of you here today from Valeant’s board of directors believe in Bausch + Lomb and believe in Waterford, and we believe in Waterford too.”
The positive sentiment was echoed by Waterford’s Oireachtas members.
Sinn Fein TD David Cullinane praised those workers who took pay cuts three years ago saying that they played their “part in making this (development) happen by taking that pain.”
Green Party Senator Grace O’Sullivan said she believes that the South East region as a whole is well poised for development.
Valeant CEO Joseph Papa said that the Waterford plant plays a critical role in their international operation.
“Every single day, somewhere in the world, 150 million people use a Valeant product,” he said. “Bausch + Lomb is very important part of our business. It represents around 50% of our worldwide revenue, so you can see how important we are in trying to make a difference in people’s lives.”