David McWilliams: Without multinationals, Ireland is a bad-weather Albania

Multinationals have transformed Ireland for the better, plugging us into the globe

Before the multinationals: from 1921 to 1991 the Irish economy was the worst performer in western Europe; this photograph, by Hans Silvester of Gamma-Rapho, shows Toomey’s bar in Hollywood, Co Wicklow, in the 1950s

Before the multinationals: from 1921 to 1991 the Irish economy was the worst performer in western Europe; this photograph, by Hans Silvester of Gamma-Rapho, shows Toomey’s bar in Hollywood, Co Wicklow, in the 1950s

It’s easy to be a little perplexed by attitudes towards multinationals, given their transformative impact on our economy, their complete upgrading of our industrial base and the enormous capital and technological transfer their presence in Ireland has facilitated.

Economically, without multinational investment, Ireland would be Albania with brutal weather. Politically, without multinational commitment to Ireland, Ireland would likely have succumbed to the populist, nationalist, protectionist disease that is afflicting most western politics.

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