We must ensure firms can keep investing here
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.