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Economic Competitiveness.

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 15 November 2006

Wednesday, 15 November 2006

Questions (147)

Bernard J. Durkan


210 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the basis for his belief that high wage or salary employment is less likely to be affected by competition from more cost effective economies; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38208/06]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment)

My belief in the long-term sustainability of high wage or salary employment is based on the realities of recent economic growth and employment expansion. Ireland's success has been based not only on attracting highly skilled, high value-added and well-paid jobs and investment, but in retaining them. Currently we have both a competitive and comparative advantage in attracting foreign investment such as the Digital River European Headquarters in Shannon and the new indigenous QUMAS research and development centre in Cork. These companies have chosen to invest here because their shareholders and managers know that we have the economic environment and infrastructure to support businesses based on technological excellence and sophistication.

This type of investment is not footloose, nor necessarily influenced by the headline advantages of lower cost locations. Complex manufacturing, regional headquarters operations or advanced support service companies set up in Ireland because the long term advantages of so doing make compelling business sense. These companies have stronger strategic connections with the economy — an economy that has many more competitive attractions in human capital, research ability and productivity opportunities that far outweigh the simple cost advantages of other investment locations.

We are by no means immune from global competition. This is why we must continually work on maintaining our competitiveness and developing our comparative advantages. The strategic advantage of investing for long term growth in Ireland is clear to many. It will become unambiguous as my Department's Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation, invests significant resources and delivers different ways to help enterprise research new products and bring them to market faster than possible in low cost competitors. This is just one of the major initiatives that this Government is taking to protect the economic and employment prospects, that sound policies have delivered over the past decade.