As innovation and science are aspects of employment across most sectors it is not possible to disaggregate the information as sought by the Deputy. My Department and its agencies are focused on the development and support of internationally trading manufacturing and services firms in Ireland, and have a clear and steady focus on the potential and opportunities that exist and can be created by prioritising innovation and science as a key driver of success. Enterprise development agencies, Enterprise Ireland (EI), IDA Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland, provide a spectrum of innovation and science/technology development programmes that deliver financial, technical and experiential support to help companies become more innovative, encourage and support competitiveness, and help them grow their sales and exports in order to create a climate in which sustainable employment will grow and expand.
The importance of innovation to Ireland has been well recognised by the Government as being crucial to growth in both our indigenous and FDI sectors. It was most encouraging to see that the recent European Commission’s Innovation Union Scoreboard, published in spring 2013, shows Ireland retaining its position among those EU Member States with above average performance in their research and innovation systems. In addition, improvements have taken place in Ireland’s cost competitiveness, reflected in the fact that, in 2013, Ireland’s international competitiveness ranking improved three places from 20th in 2011, to 17th in the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook for 2013 published in May. Ireland is 6th out of the 25 EU countries featured. In addition IBM’s Global Location Trends Report of 2012 places Ireland:
- 1st in the world for inward investment by quality and value;
- 1st in Europe for jobs created in Research and Development;
- 1st in Europe for investment in the pharmaceutical sector; and,
- 2nd is Europe and 4th globally for the number of investment jobs per capita.
These indicators correspond well with the stated ambition of our Taoiseach to make Ireland the best small country in the world in which to do business by 2016.