Diageo is expecting sales of its world leading liqueur Baileys Irish Cream to double over the next five years and are investing €64m in a second production plant to meet the volume requirements.

Diageo said the plant, to be located in the Northern Irish capital Belfast, would be operational by July 2003 and would operate in tandem with the present Dublin site.

The two plants combined will be able to produce some 10m cases, or over 120 million bottles, a year - double the present capacity.

In an interview with Reuters, Baileys spokesman Peter O'Connor said: "Consumption of Baileys is on a major growth curve, and we decided it wasn't a good idea to have the entire production of our drink for the world in one location.

"We looked at a number of sites and settled on Belfast as providing the best option."

The move will create 50 new jobs in Belfast in the first year, while 100 contract workers will be hired immediately for a third production shift in Dublin to cope with rising demand.