Cookies on the EU Presidency website

We use cookies to give the best experience on our site. Continue without changing your settings, and you'll receive cookies, or change your cookie settings at any time.

 Back

Open for Business


Foreign Direct Investment in Ireland

Enterprise Ireland manages the Seventh EU Framework Programme (FP7) for Ireland. In 2012 Irish SMEs ranked number 1 (per capita) in the EU for FP7 funding.

Ireland’s involvement in the European Space Agency has also proved very fruitful in terms of the value of contracts secured by Irish companies, and the resulting significant contributions and innovation from Ireland to enhance the European space research effort.

Ireland continues successfully to attract foreign direct investment (FDI) and exports are increasing.  In this balanced “twin engine” economy it is essential for growth that both FDI and exports continue to flourish.

Ireland has a strong reputation, built over the last 40 years, as a leading location for FDI. IDA Ireland, the Irish government agency responsible for attracting FDI, supports multinational companies as they establish and develop operations in Ireland.

Despite recent economic turbulence, Ireland is still attracting world-class investments. Ireland saw some erosion of cost competitiveness in the boom years to 2008, but since then we have made major competitiveness gains.  Ireland is one of just four euro area countries expected to show a decline in unit labour costs over the period 2009-2014, estimated at around 15%.  This is the result both of a small decline in wages and larger increases in productivity.  Commercial property is now at half of 2007 prices.

Over one thousand multinational companies have chosen Ireland as their strategic European base across sectors including digital media, games, social media, life sciences, international financial services and ICT.

Why Ireland for FDI?

Ireland is ranked as one of the most attractive business locations in the world due to the combined forces of a talented workforce, an outstanding track record in FDI, a competitive clear and transparent tax regime, access to EU markets and an international reputation for research, development, innovation and technology.

Talent

The IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2012  ranked Ireland first in the world for availability of skilled labour and for flexibility and adaptability of workforce.  Ireland has a young, well-educated labour force and scores very highly on labour productivity. 

Track Record

93% of companies rate their investment in Ireland a success. Ireland is rated first in the eurozone for ease of doing business and first for inward investment by quality and value.

Tax

Ireland has a transparent and simple 12.5% corporate tax rate on trading income. We also have an extensive and expanding network of high quality tax treaties.  

Technology

Ireland continues to attract the best in scientific and technology investments. To date, €8 billion has been invested in science, technology and innovation in Ireland.

These attributes result in Ireland housing:

  • 8 of the top 10 global ICT companies
  • 9 of the top 10 global pharmaceutical companies
  • 3 of the 5 top games companies
  • 10 of the top ‘born on the Internet’ companies
  • 50% of the world’s leading financial services firms
  • 17 out of 25 global medical device companies

And the story continues. In recent months Ireland has welcomed further investments from major companies including Amazon, IBM, Ancestry.com, SAP, Northern Trust and Fidelity.

Ireland’s Thriving Export Sector

Ireland’s indigenous exporting base is thriving, despite the domestic and global recession. Enterprise Ireland is the Irish government agency responsible for supporting entrepreneurship and the international growth of Irish companies. 

Exports grew in every sector with computer software, medical devices, cleantech, financial and education services, business process outsourcing, construction services and agri-food all showing excellent growth prospects for the future.

Irish companies are now exporting to more than 40 countries worldwide, with significant recent growth in exports to China, India, the Middle East and Brazil.

The impact of this on the Irish economy is enormous. Indigenous exporting companies are responsible for the direct and indirect employment of more than 300,000 people across Ireland, and spend over €18 billion on goods and services in the Irish economy every year.

The reach of Irish products, services and innovation is now truly a global phenomenon. In every continent you will encounter advanced, innovative Irish products and services.

  • if you have a stent implanted in your body anywhere in the world, there is an 80% probability that Irish technology from Creganna-Tactx Medical will be used to insert it 
  • Ireland’s Realex Payments provides e-commerce services to major corporations worldwide, processing €9bn of payments annually
  • Irish company Daon provides the technology used to scan eyes and finger prints at airports in the United States, Australia and Japan
  • McDonalds, Pizza Hut and Subway use Irish cooked meats from Dawn Farm Foods in County Kildare
  • Irish engineering company Mercury Engineering developed solar-powered climate control for football stadiums which will be used at the Qatar World Cup in 2022

As a whole, for 2012, combined exports from Ireland hit their highest levels ever at €182.18bn, a 5.5% increase from 2011. The total Irish trade surplus also hit record levels reaching €46bn - 16% above the previous (pre-crisis) high.

Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship is the engine that drives economic growth and building an entrepreneurial society based on knowledge and innovation is a cornerstone of Ireland’s economic policy.  Entrepreneurs are held in high esteem at home, and actively seek business partners in the EU and elsewhere.

Ireland enjoys a high level of ambitious entrepreneurial activity. In 2011 over 2,200 individuals in Ireland set up new businesses each month.

One in five of these entrepreneurs expect to have significant jobs growth (at least twenty jobs) within five years. 60% also expect to have customers in export markets.

An unusually high proportion (11%) of all early stage entrepreneurs are active in medium or high technology sectors.

The government is dedicated to encouraging greater levels of entrepreneurship in Ireland.  Since 2000, Enterprise Ireland has invested in more than 900 start-up companies, directly or indirectly employing over 25,000 people with combined sales of over €1.5 billion, 75% of which is exported.   

Driving Research and Development

Innovation is key to a modern and internationally successful productive sector in any economy.  Providing the right environment to support and promote research and innovation is a government priority.

Enterprise Ireland manages the Seventh EU Framework Programme (FP7) for Ireland which is shortly expected to be succeeded by the proposed new EU Research and Innovation Strategy, Horizon2020. In 2012 Irish SMEs ranked number 1 (per capita) in the EU for FP7 funding.

Ireland’s involvement in the European Space Agency has also proved very fruitful in terms of the value of contracts secured by Irish companies, and the resulting significant contributions and innovation from Ireland to enhance the European space research effort.

Since 2000, over 80 Irish companies have secured ESA contracts exceeding €80 million in value and yielding significant contributions and innovation from Ireland to enhance the European space research effort.

Other state supports and initiatives such as the technology transfer strengthening initiative, third level innovation partnerships, applied research enhancement centres and state-funded technology centres are in place to ensure that Ireland has a rich and supportive research and development infrastructure that maximises the commercial return from publicly-funded research.

Back to top