The IDA’s mid-year results for 2019 demonstrate the strength of foreign direct investment (FDI) in Ireland. With 13,500 job approvals and 140 investments secured so far this year, these results indicate that Ireland remains highly attractive to overseas firms. The technology, financial services and pharmaceutical sectors have all performed particularly well.
The provisional results for the first six months of this year have also reflected a number of significant investments for the regions including 150 jobs by Meissner in Castlebar, 100 new positions at JRI America in Tralee and 75 new jobs at Greenfield Global in Portlaoise. We have now seen 455 projects secured for the regions since the IDA’s current five-year strategy was launched in 2015. This is a testament to the focus IDA Ireland has placed on regional development and the whole of government action to enhance our regional offering.
In terms of further updates, my Department and the IDA will announce the Agency's annual results in January 2020. This will give us a more complete picture of Ireland's FDI performance in 2019.
Looking to the future, I am encouraged by the continued strength of Ireland’s FDI offering. We are now, for example, ranked seventh amongst the world’s most competitive economies and second in the Eurozone. Our pro-enterprise policy environment, track record as a home to global firms and talented workforce are also powerful arguments for investing here.
While we are confident about what we have to offer, the Government is never complacent. Global competition remains intense and we need to continue evolving and adapting if we want to retain our status as a world-leader in FDI.
One key challenge is responding to increasing automation and the development of artificial intelligence. These developments have the potential to, over time, fundamentally change employment models and the way we currently work. Our country’s small size and rich talent pool, however, means we have the flexibility and skillset to successfully adapt and become a genuine 21st century economy. The Government has also taken steps, most notably through our adoption of the “Future Jobs” strategy, to ensure we are collectively ready for the jobs and opportunities of the future. The IDA’s new strategy will be another key contribution to that process.
In terms of further inward investment, I want to stress that, when it comes to FDI, I have no bigger priority than increasing levels of investment to Ireland's regions. The IDA shares that approach. We are doing everything we can to encourage investors to locate in regional areas. This includes marketing potential investment sites outside of our main cities and working to develop recognised industry clusters that will help to attract overseas investors to areas outside of Dublin, Cork, Galway and Limerick.