Brexit be damned: 95pc of FDI firms declare investment in Ireland a success

7 Jul 2016

Ireland post-Brexit will have more positives than negatives say FDI chiefs, but the country needs to invest in digital skills to keep its edge

Despite the risks that Brexit will bring, 95pc of multinationals based in Ireland have confirmed their investment in Ireland is a success. However, they warned investment in digital skills will be crucial.

The multinationals cited positives such as robust economic growth, an English-speaking population, full access to the Single Market, the Euro currency and Ireland’s ranking in 7th place in the IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook.

However, according to the PwC study, there are certain areas for review to ensure Ireland can fully capitalise on its foreign direct investment (FDI) potential.

Over 35pc of multinational CEOs in Ireland said that reducing the personal tax burden is critical for increasing Ireland’s attractiveness as a location of choice for foreign direct investment.

‘We need to continue to invest in education to ensure that we have the skills needed for the digital world’

Nearly one-fifth (17pc) said that having sufficient high-quality accommodation is important and one in ten said that increasing available office space is critical.

Almost one-in-three (30pc) said that maintaining Ireland’s status as an attractive location for innovation and R&D is a critical factor, up from 14pc last year.

A holistic approach is needed for Ireland to thrive post-Brexit

The skills question will also be a factor for the future. Recent reports suggest that Ireland stands to benefit from Brexit and the European Digital Single Market to the tune of 140,000 extra jobs if it can field a talented workforce. Not only that, but Ireland could also prove to be a magnet for skilled overseas talent.

IDA Ireland yesterday reported 9,100 new jobs were announced in the first half of 2016.

“We also need to continue to invest in education to ensure that we have the skills needed for the digital world,” warned Feargal O’Rourke, managing partner at PwC in Ireland.

“Ireland has many strengths aside from our corporation tax rate. But with the UK signalling a lowering of its corporation tax to below 15pc, Ireland needs to take a holistic approach ensuring we have the full suite of measures companies look for when considering where to locate, including a competitive personal tax regime and being at the cutting edge of international research, development,and innovation.

“Ireland punches well above its weight and, as a nation, we must use all of our networks to communicate the message of Ireland.”

O’Rourke urged companies to undertake full-scale scenario-planning for Brexit, covering both the short and long-term risks.

“This should include, where relevant, considering product and market diversification and innovation. Now is also a time that the benefits of technology and digital will pay you dividends more than ever,” O’Rourke recommended.

Dublin Bay image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years