Apple has confirmed that it will construct a three-story office block at its European headquarters in Cork, Ireland, recruiting for 500 jobs in the Irish city as it looks to expand its business across Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa.

The company already employs 2,800 staff in its Cork headquarters, offices that saw 55% year-on-year growth in revenues in the markets which it serviced in the final quarter of 2011.

Apple’s Senior Director for Corporate Communications Alan Hely said that the company aims to fill available positions in the next 18 months and that it was “thrilled” to make the announcement.

The company met with government officials and the Irish Industrial Development Authority in both Ireland and in the US, discussing itss plans for expansion and how it could help boost the local economy.

IDA Ireland CEO, Barry O’Leary said: ”This development continues the strong trend of investment over the past years in Ireland, in particular from global ICT companies and demonstrates Ireland’s continuing success in attracting FDI additional investment.”

Apple’s Cork offices have been in the news over the past week, after activists representing the environmental campaign group Greenpeace scaled buildings in protest over the company’s use of “dirty” coal and nuclear power in its datacenters.

Apple refuted Greenpeace’s recent energy report, noting that its new facility will be “the greenest data centre ever built.”