Dublin and Cork dominate as multinational investment expands
IDA Ireland says it is increasingly hard to convince firms to invest in other areas
There was little to suggest 2012 was the “best year for a decade”. But for IDA Ireland, which made the claim when publishing its annual review, there was plenty to be pleased about.
The agency, tasked with attracting foreign direct investment (FDI) into the State, delivered a net 6,570 jobs through a total of 145 investments by multinationals.
Big-name firms such as Apple, PayPal, Allergan, Northern Trust and Deutsche Börse were among those who invested in the State and the IDA estimates that for each FDI job arriving in Ireland between 0.7 and one extra job is created.
The agency said, for corporate reasons, some firms investing in the State do not seek the publicity that comes with revealing their decisions.
In all, 167 “public” job announcements were made by the IDA in 2011 and 2012 – just over half the overall total of 293. An Irish Times analysis of those announcements shows, unsurprisingly, Dublin city and county were the most likely landing points for investments.
Of the 167 public announcements, 79 represented good news for Dublin; 24 for Galway; 20 for Cork and 12 for Limerick. Eight counties (Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Laois, Leitrim, Longford, Meath, Monaghan) welcomed no FDI over the years and eight (Donegal, Sligo, Roscommon, Offaly, Kerry, Kilkenny, Wexford and Wicklow) counties had one.
The Central Statistics Office’s quarterly national household survey, published in September, found unemployment was highest in the southeast (18.7 per cent), midland (17.9 per cent) and Border (16.3 per cent) regions.
These have struggled to attract investment at the same rate as regions such as Dublin, the southwest and the west, where the unemployment rates are 12.1 per cent, 13.8 per cent and 15.8 per cent respectively.
The midlands region was home to five investments (with 305 announced jobs), the southeast seven (with 82 jobs announced) and the Border region eight (some 1,400 of which are in Dundalk).
IDA chief executive Barry O’Leary said the talent pool available, track record of companies investing, technological capability and corporate tax rate were the main concerns of potential investors in Ireland.
Map Legend: Yellow markers indicate 2012 IDA jobs announcements. Green marker indicates 2011 IDA jobs announcements. Locations were taken from company websites and records and in some cases supplied by the IDA. Locations in some cases are approximate.
O’Leary said, even with regional incentives, it was proving increasingly difficult to convince companies to invest outside Dublin and Cork.
“We’re getting about a quarter into non-Dublin and Cork areas,” he said.
Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton acknowledged the difficulty of achieving an even regional spread but said he was heartened by Enterprise Ireland’s recent results which showed significant job increases outside the Dublin region.
“It is challenging but there are successes like the decision of Allergan [in Westport], Abbott in Sligo, PayPal in Dundalk, Eli Lily in Kinsale, for example,” he said.
“Ultimately companies make their own decisions but what we have to do is look to plan investments in certain areas . . . We have regional aid in different counties so if companies pick some counties they get a higher aid package than if they pick others.”