We must en­sure firms can keep in­vest­ing here

Irish Independent - - LETTERS & EDITORIAL COMMENT -

IT HAS not been a good week for Ire­land’s in­ter­na­tional im­age as a suc­cess­ful hub for over­seas multi­na­tional in­vest­ment. This abil­ity to at­tract in­ward de­vel­op­ment money is cen­tral to all our cit­i­zens’ eco­nomic well­be­ing and every as­pect of our hard-won rep­u­ta­tion must be jeal­ously guarded.

Clearly, some of the emerg­ing prob­lems leave us with only lim­ited con­trol. The EU Com­mis­sion President Jean-Claude Juncker’s call to end in­di­vid­ual ve­toes over de­ci­sions on com­pany tax pol­icy has been vig­or­ously and im­me­di­ately con­tested by the Gov­ern­ment.

For now, Ire­land can do lit­tle else on this one ex­cept con­tinue to fight the good fight and make clear our com­mit­ment in­ter­na­tion­ally to do just that.

But there are other con­cerns which emerged this week. One is the on­go­ing de­lays on a planned €1bn de­vel­op­ment by Ap­ple in Athenry, Co Gal­way, which is held up by a plan­ning dis­pute. A High Court rul­ing on the is­sue is awaited. It is un­der­stood that Ap­ple re­mains com­mit­ted to the de­vel­op­ment.

But lo­cal peo­ple, keen for jobs and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment in an area which has had its dif­fi­cul­ties, note that it was an­nounced in 2015 and was ex­pected to be com­pleted by now. That does not in­spire con­fi­dence.

At the same time, we learn that Mi­crosoft is be­ing forced to build its own power sta­tion in Dublin to pro­vide elec­tric­ity to one of its huge data cen­tres. Granted, the pro­ject does re­quire a mas­sive level of elec­tric­ity.

But when you con­sider Ire­land’s al­ready shaky wa­ter and sewage ser­vices in many ar­eas, and the ma­jor na­tional hous­ing cri­sis, we see there are re­cur­ring ques­tions about our sup­port in­fra­struc­ture for in­ward in­vest­ment. All of these is­sues must be care­fully mon­i­tored and dealt with.

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