Foreign direct investment to Ireland rises by more than €70bn

Stock of FDI in Ireland exceeded €1tn for the first time in 2019, CSO data shows

Foreign direct investment (FDI) in Ireland rose by €71 billion last year despite the Covid crisis. New figures compiled by the Central Statistics Office show the increase in flows of FDI into the State was largely attributable to new investment from North America.

Equity and reinvested earnings inflows of €57 billion and €64 billion respectively, were offset by decreases in other capital investment of €50 billion.

The overall value of the stock of direct investment into the Republic increased from €1.08 trillion to €1.09 trillion last year. Inward FDI in Ireland exceeded €1 trillion for the first time in 2019, according to the CSO.

Increased investment from the US of €54 billion last year was offset by a decrease from Europe and offshore centres of €13 billion and €27 billion respectively.


In its 2020 annual report, IDA Ireland said that the sectors that proved the most resilient during 2020 were technology and life sciences in a year when global FDI was severely disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Globally, greenfield investment projects fell by a third compared with the previous year, as multinationals “delayed, cancelled, or held off on investment decisions”.

Services remains the largest sector for inward investment, according to the CSO figures. At the end of 2020, it accounted for overall investment of €628 billion, down €15 billion on the prior year.

Irish stocks of direct investment abroad fell in 2020 to €988 billion from €1.02 trillion a year earlier. Investment abroad by Irish enterprises is also primarily from the services sector, which saw a €78 billion decline last year to €771 billion.

Foreign companies based in Ireland sent €99 billion abroad in income outflows during the year, up €7 billion on the previous year. Earnings of European-owned companies were €66.6 billion, up €1.6 billion on the prior year.

Income earned abroad by investors located in Ireland came in at €21 billion last year, down €1.6 billion versus 2019.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist