In a boost for Ireland, GlaxoSmithKline has decided to reverse plans to close a facility in Sligo and will instead invest 10 million euros into the plant.

The site, which GSK inherited through its $3.60 billion acquisition of dermatology specialist Stiefel Laboratories in 2009 had been earmarked for closure next year. However, site director Pat McLoughlin noted that the efforts of the staff in Sligo has led to a switch in policy.

He said that "the workforce has shown tremendous effort, commitment and flexibility through a difficult period, increasing productivity by 40% in the last three years. This has been a key factor in the decision to choose Sligo for future development".

The plant currently employs 180 people and this will go down to 120 over the next two years as part of a transition from the production of pharmaceutical to skin healthcare products. An additional 50 jobs should be created by 2014 at Sligo which GSK has selected as a dedicated supply site for its Stiefel consumer products and the home of its liquid bottling operation.

It will be developed "to respond to the needs of a fast-paced, quality-driven consumer business", GSK says, adding that it will be investing 10 million euros to upgrade the site’s "technical competences and develop its potential". The investment is supported by IDA Ireland, the country's investment promotion agency.

Richard Bruton, Ireland's minister for jobs, enterprise and innovation, said that central to the government’s plans "is ensuring not only that we grow our jobs in multinational companies, but also working hard to retain jobs currently in place". GSK employs 1,600 staff across five locations in Ireland.