IDA sees more investment as job creation hits record high

More than 100 companies promising 8,000 jobs told the IDA during the last six months that they will set up shop or expand here.

That’s about a thousand jobs more than the same period last year and follows a robust period for the agency which has seen major job announcements Deutsche Bank, Symantec and eBay.

That means job creation is now at record levels.

Always aware of political sensitivities, the IDA was quick to point out that many of those jobs had gone outside Dublin. Biopharma group Regeneron is creating 300 long-term jobs in Limerick as well 600 construction jobs for the next three years as the company ploughs €300m into building a factory there. Dundalk, Athlone, Galway and Mayo have also done well although the south east has once again been overlooked.

Around two fifths of the investment is coming from companies new to Ireland.

While Ireland’s tax system has attracted unprecedented and negative attention in recent months, outgoing IDA boss Barry O’Leary was upbeat. “Access and sentiment towards Ireland is exceptionally good,” he said yesterday following a recent trip to California with the Taoiseach to drum up business.

He swatted away suggestions that foreign companies are worried about tax, noting that the numbers employed by the 1,100 firms getting IDA grants stands at a record high of 161,112 after the creation of a net 13,376 jobs last year. “There is no slowdown. In fact, there is an increase,” he said.

Despite the bullish stance, Mr O’Leary made a tacit admission that so-called tax inversion, where a US company buys a European company for tax reasons, was not always a good idea. Inversion deals must have “substance” or they could damage a country’s reputation, he said.

Turning to the future, Mr O’Leary repeated concerns about high income tax rates, saying it was important for the Government to “set out a pathway” to cut taxes and improve Ireland’s attractiveness in the “war for talent”.
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