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Foreign Direct Investment

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 19 May 2022

Thursday, 19 May 2022

Questions (7)

Bernard Durkan


7. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the extent to which foreign direct investment continues to be a positive feature for job creation in County Kildare and throughout the country; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25396/22]

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Oral answers (6 contributions) (Question to Enterprise)

To what extent do County Kildare and the rest of the country continue to be attractive places for foreign direct investment? How is it working in light of the new regime on corporation profits tax?

Despite economic and social upheaval across the globe, Ireland has continued to attract foreign direct investment at record levels. Last year, the number of people directly employed in the multinational sector reached 275,000 - the highest level of employment from foreign direct investment ever and well over 10% of total employment in the State. In 2021, more than 29,000 new jobs were created by IDA Ireland client companies. The benefits of these new jobs, as well as the 249 new investments won, have a positive impact throughout Ireland, with employment growth recorded in every region of the country. Indeed, more than half of IDA Ireland investments occurred outside Dublin.

In the mid-east region, which includes Kildare, almost 19,000 people are employed in enterprises that are headquartered overseas. This number has steadily increased by 8% through the past five years. In 2021, there were 32 IDA client companies in Kildare, employing almost 10,000 people. Intel, Hewlett Packard and Procter & Gamble all have significant sites in the county. Last month alone, investments were announced from Nikon Europe and MGS Manufacturing that amount to 140 new jobs for Kildare. Those jobs will be based in Leixlip.

County Kildare and neighbouring counties in the mid-east region have a significant ecosystem of well-established companies in a variety of sectors, including technology, life sciences, international financial services and engineering and industrial technologies. In recent years, the area has also benefited from significant investment in the food and film industries.

As the Deputy is aware, in March, the Minister of State, Deputy English, launched the mid-east regional enterprise plan. Its objectives focus on the region's areas of strength, including agrifood, screen content creation, the equine sector, the region's acceleration to low-carbon, and ensuring the enterprise ecosystem in the region is strong. I recently received Government approval to develop a new White Paper on enterprise policy. This is about ensuring we do not take our economic strength for granted and that we ensure job creation and investment continues, including in counties such as Kildare.

I thank the Tánaiste for his reply. To what extent, if any, does discourse continue at international level in respect of corporation profits tax? How might that affect Ireland? Are there likely to be further changes in that area?

I thank the Deputy. I know he will acknowledge that our offering or attractiveness to foreign direct investment has always been about more than our low and stable corporation profit tax rate. It is about our talent pool, the availability of qualified staff, our track record in terms of political and economic stability, our infrastructure and our position in the eurozone. We have always been able to offer an attractive package of reasons, if one likes, to invest in Ireland. Our low and stable corporation profit tax rate is only one aspect of that. Certainly in my engagement with large companies in the US a few weeks ago, they were happy that there is now an international agreement on corporation profit tax. The main issue for them is that it should be low, but also stable rather than going up and down with economic cycles or changes of Government. They are reassured by it. The big test now is whether it will get done. It has to get through the European Union and the US Congress and that is less certain at the moment than it was previously. I remain confident it can happen, however.

To what extent is foreign direct investment being encouraged towards the regions in order to ensure a balance in the population and the workforce? That has obvious economic benefits for the working population and investment generally in the economy.

I am not sure I picked up exactly what the Deputy said there but he can be assured that we will continue to promote Kildare as a place to invest. It has enormous potential, given the assets and infrastructure there and its proximity to Dublin and Dublin Airport. We will continue to press for more investment and jobs in the county.

Questions Nos. 8 and 9 replied to with Written Answers.