Brexit led 55 firms to in­vest in Ire­land

IDA says com­pa­nies seek­ing al­ter­na­tive lo­ca­tions will cre­ate 4,500 jobs here Em­ploy­ment growth from FDI ex­ceeded that of the wider econ­omy, says re­view

The Irish Times - Business - - FRONT PAGE - BARRY O’HALLORAN and PETER HAMIL­TON

Brexit has prompted 55 com­pa­nies with the po­ten­tial to cre­ate up to 4,500 jobs to in­vest in the Repub­lic, ac­cord­ing to State de­vel­op­ment agency IDA Ire­land.

The fig­ures emerged as the agency, re­spon­si­ble for at­tract­ing multi­na­tion­als to the Repub­lic, said em­ploy­ment in busi­nesses that it sup­ported reached a record 230,000 last year.

IDA chief ex­ec­u­tive Mar­tin Shana­han said yes­ter­day that the agency lured in­vest­ment from 55 com­pa­nies seek­ing al­ter­na­tive lo­ca­tions to Bri­tain ahead of its Eu­ro­pean Union de­par­ture, in­clud­ing Bank of Amer­ica, Mor­gan Stan­ley and Bar­clays.

Those busi­nesses com­mit­ted to cre­at­ing 4,500 jobs. While they have yet to reach this to­tal, Mr Shana­han added that his or­gan­i­sa­tion hoped that they would even­tu­ally ex­pand be­yond that fig­ure.

In­vest­ment de­ci­sions

“It’s also true to say that Brexit is a fac­tor in all in­vest­ment de­ci­sions,” Mr Shana­han said. He ex­plained that it was one of the things taken into ac­count when com­pa­nies chose to lo­cate or ex­pand in the Repub­lic.

The IDA’s re­view of 2018 and out­look for this year shows that its multi­na­tional clients added a net 14,040 jobs in the nine months to the end of Septem­ber. This brought to­tal em­ploy­ment in IDA-backed com­pa­nies to 229,057, an all-time high, and val­ued their eco­nomic con­tri­bu­tion at €19.2 bil­lion.

Em­ploy­ment growth across agency-sup­ported busi­nesses was more than dou­ble the na­tional av­er­age at 7 per cent, Mr Shana­han, said.

The re­view, pub­lished yes­ter­day, shows that IDA clients lo­cat­ing or ex­pand­ing here hired an ex­tra 22,785 peo­ple last year, while oth­ers cut 8,745 jobs. The num­ber of jobs lost was pro­por­tion­ately the low­est in the agency’s his­tory, ac­cord­ing to Mr Shana­han.

In­creased na­tion­al­ism

How­ever, he warned that po­ten­tial threats were grow­ing, in­clud­ing a slow­down in the United States, the big­gest source of multi­na­tional in­vest­ment, in­creased na­tion­al­ism and pro­tec­tion­ism and the pos­si­bil­ity of trade wars.

Dublin con­tin­ued to ab­sorb a sig­nif­i­cant amount of FDI in 2018. How­ever, there was strong growth out­side the cap­i­tal, with em­ploy­ment num­bers ris­ing 14 per cent in the mid­lands and 8 per cent in the west.

Over the last four years, IDA com­pa­nies have cre­ated an ex­tra 27,000 jobs in ar­eas out­side Dublin.

“I par­tic­u­larly wel­come the gains made in deep­en­ing and grow­ing in­vest­ment out­side of Ire­land’s main cities, with the largest re­gional em­ploy­ment growth achieved in 17 years,” Min­is­ter for Busi­ness, En­ter­prise and In­no­va­tion, Heather Humphreys said at the event.

She noted that “58 per cent of all IDA client-sup­ported jobs are now lo­cated out­side Dublin, with ev­ery re­gion of the coun­try see­ing em­ploy­ment gains in 2018”.

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