Eli Lilly is creating 100 new jobs in Ireland, with recruitment starting immediately.

The US drugs major is to establish its European Financial Services Centre in Cork, providing general accounting and cash activities for its operations in the continent. The centre will be fully operational in 2011.

Kay Flynn, senior finance director for Lilly’s European Shared Services, said the decision to locate “this important operation in Cork was based on our track record here, the availability of a skilled workforce, language ability and the presence of a strong shared services base here in Ireland”. The drugmaker already employs 450 staff at a manufacturing plant in Kinsale, Co Cork.

Ireland’s Minister for Enterprise Batt O’Keeffe said the government has been in close contact with Lilly to secure this investment and the move “attests strongly to the academic calibre of the local labour pool and the quality of our higher education institutions”. He added that “we have shown again to the world that we can attract strategic investments from leading multinationals by providing the right mix of skills, workforce flexibility and pro-business policies”._

IDA Ireland, the country’s investment promotion agency, added that it worked closely with Lilly to attract this deal “against significant competition from other European locations”. The news comes a couple of months after Merck & Co chose Dublin as the hub for its newly-established shared business services centre for its Europe, Middle East and Africa operations, creating 150 jobs.