March 17th, 2008

St. Patrick’s Day

By Marc

As I was raising a glass of Guinness this evening in honor of all things Irish, I thought it apt to say a few words about the Johnson & Johnson operations on the Emerald Isle.

As I’ve mentioned before on JNJBTW, Johnson & Johnson has long had international operations. Though bragging rights for the first international Johnson & Johnson business belongs to Canada, the first overseas business opened in the UK in 1924 — in the industrial London suburb of Slough — a place immortalized by one of my favorite poets, John Betjeman, in his satirical look at the souless life of modern surburbia, Slough (“Come friendly bombs and fall on Slough”) –and more recently by Ricky Gervais in the BBC comedy, The Office. (For those interested, Margaret has more on how Johnson & Johnson ended up there.)

Operations in Ireland followed in 1935, in Tallaght. According to a special supplement on
Johnson & Johnson’s businesses in the British Isles published in the 1970s, the Tallaght facility included an office and manufacturing plant. From the same supplement: “Johnson & Johnson (Ireland) Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of the British company, was started by he purchase of a local importing business in Dame St., Dublin. The first office with a small manufacturing area was set up at Blackrock near Dublin in 1935.”

The article went on to state that in the 1970s the Irish operation produced Johnson’s Baby Products, TEK toothbrushes, sanitary napkins, gauze and cotton products. (Many thanks to Margaret for all of this info…)

Much has changed since then (for instance, in 2006, Centocor broke ground on a new manufacturing plant near Cork) and today, seven Johnson & Johnson companies have operations in Ireland and together employ about 2,000 people.

UPDATE: (Many thanks to my colleagues in Ireland for this additional information about our operations there.)

The Johnson & Johnson businesses with operations in Ireland include Johnson & Johnson (Ireland) Limited in Dublin, ALZA and Cordis in Cashel, DePuy Ireland Ltd., Centocor Biologics (Ireland) Ltd and Janssen Pharmaceutica in Cork and Vistakon in Limerick.

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