IDA ‘cautiously optimistic’ on investment

Strong levels of investment recorded in 2012 continued through first half of 2013

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton at the IDA’s mid-term review briefing at the Merrion Hotel Dublin. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton at the IDA’s mid-term review briefing at the Merrion Hotel Dublin. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times

Wed, Jul 17, 2013, 16:43

IDA Ireland said it is “cautiously optimistic” about the outlook for foreign direct investment into Ireland for the remainder of 2013.

At the agency’s mid-term review this afternoon in Dublin’s Merrion Hotel, IDA chief executive Barry O’Leary said the “strong” levels of investment recorded in 2012 had continued through the first half of 2013.

The IDA said it has secured 70 investments in Ireland by foreign companies since the start of January, compared to 61 at this stage last year. These will lead to 7,000 jobs “this year and over future years” as the investments are rolled out. For the whole of 2012, IDA client companies announced 12,722 new jobs in 145 separate investments.

Among the new roles secured this year are 400 jobs in Dundalk with eBay, as well as 150 jobs for Cork announced by Fire Eye in March. Technology, life sciences and international financial services have accounted for the bulk of the roles.

“These companies come to Ireland for the clusters we have developed, and the skill bases that develop from those,” said Richard Bruton, the Minister for Jobs and Enterprise, who attended today’s announcement.

The IDA has recently unveiled a new high-profile American television advertising campaign promoting Ireland as a destination for investment. The campaign started on CNBC, a major US business network, three weeks ago. The ad is also being run on Bloomberg television.

Mr O’Leary said weak growth in European markets was “an area of concern” for the IDA and its mainly American clients. He said most of the US companies located here export their products to European markets. He also highlighted the increased efforts of some other European countries to attract foreign investment using corporation tax incentives. “There is increased competition. We have noticed that the Netherlands and the UK in particular have upped their game,” he said.

Mr O’Leary said the IDA remained “on track” to meet the targets set out in its Horizon 2020 strategy document. He said the IDA was lining up six separate major jobs announcements for “coming months”. All are in the greater Dublin region.

He also highlighted the ongoing debate surrounding tax avoidance by multinationals. Mr O’Leary said the IDA didn’t know how many of its client companies were using the controversial “Double Irish” multinational tax avoidance strategy, which involves routing profits through Irish subsidiaries to companies controlled from tax havens such as Bermuda.

“We don’t promote it,” he said, when asked if the IDA highlights the benefits of the “Double Irish” when touting for investment from new clients. “But we do promote the tax credits that are available for research and development investment.”