Brexit has prompted 55 firms to invest in Republic, IDA Ireland says

Employment in businesses supported by State agency reaches a record 230,000

IDA Ireland chief executive Martin Shanahan said employment growth across agency-supported businesses was more than double the national average at 7 per cent. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Brexit has prompted 55 companies with the potential to create up to 4,500 jobs to invest in the Republic, according to State development agency, IDA Ireland.

The figures emerged as the agency, responsible for attracting multinationals to the Republic, said employment in businesses that it supported reached a record 230,000 last year.

IDA chief executive Martin Shanahan said on Thursday that the agency lured investment from 55 companies seeking alternative locations to Britain ahead of its European Union departure, including Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Barclays.

Those businesses committed to creating 4,500 jobs. While they have yet to reach this total, Mr Shanahan added that his organisation hoped that they would eventually expand beyond that figure.


“It’s also true to say that Brexit is a factor in all investment decisions,” Mr Shanahan said. He explained that it was one of the things taken into account when companies chose to locate or expand in the Republic.

Record employment

The IDA’s review of 2018 and outlook for this year shows that its multinational clients added a net 14,040 jobs in the nine months to the end of September.

This brought total employment in IDA-backed companies to 229,057, an all-time high, and valued their economic contribution at €19.2 billion.

Employment growth across agency-supported businesses was more than double the national average at 7 per cent, Mr Shanahan, said.

The review, published on Thursday, shows that IDA clients locating or expanding here hired an extra 22,785 people last year, while others cut 8,745 jobs. The number of jobs lost was proportionately the lowest in the agency’s history, according to Mr Shanahan.

However, he warned that potential threats were growing, including a slowdown in the United States, the biggest source of multinational investment, increased nationalism and protectionism and the possibility of trade wars.

“The health of the US economy is particularly important and there are signs that a correction in the US might be imminent,” he said, adding that the agency would monitor this.

Dublin continued to absorb a significant amount of FDI in 2018. However, there was strong growth outside the capital, with employment numbers rising 14 per cent in the midlands and 8 per cent in the west.

Over the last four years, IDA companies have created an extra 27,000 jobs in areas outside Dublin.

"I particularly welcome the gains made in deepening and growing investment outside of Ireland's main cities, with the largest regional employment growth achieved in 17 years," said the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys.


She noted that “58 per cent of all IDA client-supported jobs are now located outside Dublin, with every region of the country seeing employment gains in 2018”.

Mr Shanahan stressed that maintaining competitiveness was “essential” to tackling the challenges the Republic faced in attracting investment.

Client companies are concerned about housing, skills, infrastructure investment, education and income tax at the higher rate, Mr Shanahan said.

IDA’s board will this year develop a new five-year strategy “in the midst of unprecedented competition”.

It will also continue its construction programme, building facilities in Sligo, Dundalk, Athlone, Waterford, Galway, Monaghan and Limerick designed to attract multinationals to these locations.

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton

Peter Hamilton is a contributor to The Irish Times specialising in business

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas