IDA boss says Yes vote in State’s economic interest

Martin Shanahan says No vote would send negative signal to international business

IDA chief executive Martin Shanahan: “Large multinationals in the US have come out in favour of same-sex marriage.” Photograph: Aidan Crawley

IDA chief executive Martin Shanahan: “Large multinationals in the US have come out in favour of same-sex marriage.” Photograph: Aidan Crawley

 

The chief executive of IDA Ireland, the inward investment agency, has intervened in the marriage referendum debate to say a Yes vote would be in the State’s economic interest.

Martin Shanahan also said a No vote against same-sex marriage would send a very negative signal to the world of international business. Companies supported by the IDA employ more than 174,000 people in Ireland.

“Many of our clients are on record on this matter here and in the US in particular where obviously the debate also is going on at state level. Overwhelmingly I think large multinationals in the US have come out in favour of same-sex marriage,” Mr Shanahan told The Irish Times in an interview.

“We have seen the business community here advocating a Yes vote, saying that a Yes vote would be good for Ireland, good for business, good for the individual.”

Asked about the negative response within the No campaign to Twitter’s call for a Yes vote, Mr Shanahan said there were very few occasions during the year when there was a spike in international attention towards Ireland

Positive message

“You might get two or three [years] where everybody is looking at Ireland. This may be one of them on the basis that we’re the only country which is putting a question like this to a referendum of the people,” he said.

“In my view a Yes vote will say that Ireland is open, inclusive and welcomes diversity and that would be a very positive message to be sending internationally and I think it is what internationally people believe.

Apolitical

Asked if he had any problem intervening in a referendum as an official of the State, he said IDA Ireland was apolitical and had not campaigned on the issue.

“But in response to your direct question about what this means from an Ireland Inc perspective and from an enterprise perspective, as I’ve said, a Yes vote would send out a very positive message. It would be good for business,” he said. “It’s another reason for a Yes vote because there are really good reasons for a Yes vote.”