As Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, a central objective of mine has been to create the best possible environment for enterprise, entrepreneurship and innovation. Attracting more foreign direct investment (FDI), and supporting the growth and expansion of overseas firms already located here, is an important part of that. Our country is performing very strongly in terms of FDI and we are looking for that to continue into 2020 and beyond, with a particular focus on increasing the spread of investment across Ireland.
2018 was a record year for FDI and FDI-driven employment in Ireland. Every region experienced FDI employment gains, with over 132,000 people, 58% of total supported jobs, now employed in approximately 700 IDA client companies located outside of Dublin. Some 56% of all net new FDI jobs created last year were outside Dublin, which represents the highest number of people employed by IDA clients outside of Dublin in the history of the Agency.
It should also be noted FDI only forms one part of investment, indigenous enterprise and the role of enterprise Ireland and the local enterprise offices are also responsible for significant employment growth.
As for Carlow in particular, it has experienced a year-on-year increase in FDI employment since 2011. In fact, there has been a twofold increase in employment by IDA client companies during that period. Last year alone, the number of IDA supported jobs in the County increased by 31% with 275 net new jobs added.
A key recent FDI development in Carlow was the beginning of the construction of MSD’s second manufacturing facility in the County. The new facility will focus on the production of vaccines and biologics and will create up to 170 new jobs. This expansion reflects Carlow's appeal to overseas investors and bodes well for future investment in the area.
The County will also benefit from the IDA's Regional Property Programme. The IDA has acquired a 12.6 hectare site at Rathnapish, Carlow Town and will shortly submit planning permission for the construction of an Advanced Technology Building there. I am confident that this new facility, once completed, will help attract further investment to the County.
Looking ahead, the IDA will continue to engage with its clients to identify further opportunities for new investment in Carlow and the South-East. The region is very well positioned to attract further FDI and the IDA is actively working with all stakeholders in the region in support of that goal.