Dell has confirmed that nearly 2000 jobs are to go at its flagship manufacturing plant in Ireland.

Described as a "devastating blow for the region", the US company will take its production from the Limerick factory to a cheaper plant in Poland.

Dell said the move is part of a $3 billion global cost-cutting drive. The first cuts will see jobs go in April, with the full transition expected to be completed by January 2010. About 1000 non-manufacturing Dell staff will stay in Ireland.

The Independent reports that the knock-on effect of a massive jobs loss would "cripple" the local economy, with up to 6000 other workers in related companies now at risk.

Sean Corkery, vice-president of Dell operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, said: "This is a difficult decision, but the right one for Dell to become even more competitive, and deliver greater value to customers in the region".