IDA claws back almost €55m in grants from companies over 10 years

Tánaiste says largest annual clawback of grants took place in 2011 when €18.7m recovered

IDA Ireland has clawed back almost € 55 million in grants from multinational companies over a 10 year period,figures provided by Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise Leo Varadkar show.

In a written Dáil reply to co-leader of the Social Democrats Catherine Murphy, Mr Varadkar confirmed that the largest annual clawback of the grants took place in 2011 when the IDA clawed back €18.7million from 11 companies.

This followed the IDA revoking €12.88 million in grants in 2010 from 16 companies as unemployment rates soared.

However, the second lowest annual total occurred in 2019 when just €1.68 million was clawed back from five companies as the economy continued to strengthen.

This followed the IDA seeking a revoking of grants totalling €5.7million in 2018 and €5million in 2017.

The IDA clawed back a total of €54.8 million over the 10 years.

One recent example where a company repaid State grants involves US firm Molex Ireland, which shut down its operations here across 2019 and 2020 with the loss of more than 450 jobs.

Latest accounts for Molex Ireland Ltd show it repaid €2.87 million as a result of the closure of the Shannon plant.

Binding contract

The Tánaiste told Ms Murphy that in all instances where financial assistance is approved by the IDA for a company, the IDA and the client enter into a legal and binding contract, a grant agreement.

He stated the contract includes conditions and milestones that are required to be achieved before any financial assistance is paid.

Mr Varadkar stated that a company signs the grant agreement in full knowledge “that the penalty for non-performance is the pro-rata repayment of the grant”.

Mr Varadkar’s reply stated that the 2020 figure is not yet available for publication.

The Tánaiste did not provide the identify of the companies concerned after stating that IDA Ireland is of the view that such information “is confidential and commercially sensitive as they are in ongoing relationships with many of the companies on existing and potentially new investments, and the companies continue to provide significant employment in Ireland”.

He said that during the same period, Enterprise Ireland reclaimed approved grants totalling €9.26 million from 134 companies. Enterprise Ireland re-claimed €914,675 in grants from 10 companies in 2019.

The highest annual total for Enterprise Ireland re-claiming grants took place in 2014 when €3.11 million was recouped from 23 companies.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times