IDA con­fi­dent of get­ting Brexit spoils de­spite de­ter­rent of high per­sonal tax

Irish Independent - Business Week - - BUSINESSWEEK - Gretchen Frie­mann and Ellie Don­nelly

HOUSING short­ages and high per­sonal taxes are among the prin­ci­pal turn-offs for in­ter­na­tional com­pa­nies con­sid­er­ing in­vest­ing here, ac­cord­ing to the IDA.

How­ever, Martin Shana­han, the agency’s CEO, said multi­na­tion­als were “over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive” about Ire­land and in­sisted that the coun­try was “well placed” to win more fi­nan­cial-ser­vices jobs in the wake of Brexit.

The IDA said that new in­vest­ments at­tracted in the first six months of 2017 would lead to the cre­ation of 11,000 jobs, de­spite per­sis­tent un­cer­tainty about the struc­ture of the UK’s di­vorce from the EU and po­ten­tial tax changes in the US.

Just un­der 2,200 di­rect new jobs in IDA-sup­ported firms were an­nounced in the first half of the year, split roughly 50-50 be­tween Dublin and the rest of the coun­try.

Launch­ing its in­terim re­sults, Mr Shana­han said the in­vest­ment fig­ure was at the same level as the first half of 2016, but that job-cre­ation was 22pc higher.

How­ever, the agency pro­vided lit­tle clar­ity on how many firms will en­ter the coun­try on the back of Brexit. Mr Shana­han said many com­pa­nies were likely to es­chew any pub­lic­ity, pre­fer­ring their ar­rival in Ire­land to re­main un­her­alded.

He also pro­vided lit­tle in­sight into the cal­i­bre of the Brexit-re­lated jobs, de­spite mount­ing fears that Ire­land is largely at­tract­ing lower-paid, back-of­fice roles, while the more up­scale, cap­i­tal mar­kets jobs flow to cities like Frank­furt and Brus­sels.

At the launch of the agency’s mid-year re­sults and an­nual re­port, the Tá­naiste and Min­is­ter for En­ter­prise and In­no­va­tion, Frances Fitzger­ald warned against com­pla­cency over Ire­land’s rel­a­tively high lev­els of FDI, stress­ing: “We must con­tin­u­ally up our game”.

But she added that in the face of the twin chal­lenges from Brexit and pos­si­ble US tax changes, the IDA had man­aged to main­tain the same “high level” of in­vest­ment as in 2016.

She also dis­missed sug­ges­tions that the Cen­tral Bank’s at­ti­tude had weighed on Ire­land’s abil­ity to win Brexit spoils, say­ing the coun­try had learned the “hard way” about “the im­por­tance of reg­u­la­tion.”

Mr Shana­han added that af­ter an ini­tially slow start to the year in response to the geo-po­lit­i­cal un­cer­tain­ties, multi­na­tion­als were now press­ing ahead with de­ci­sions.

Martin Shana­han of the IDA

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