IDA’s regional strategy is paying big dividends

Ray O’Connor looks at the reasons why 55,000 regional jobs were created by IDA-backed companies from 2015-19.

IDA’s regional strategy is paying big dividends

Ray O’Connor looks at the reasons why 55,000 regional jobs were created by IDA-backed companies from 2015-19.

Last year was a very positive one for foreign direct investment — with IDA Ireland having achieved all targets in its ‘Winning: Foreign Direct Investment 2015-2019’ strategy.

Numbers directly employed in Ireland’s multinational sector are at an all time high of 245,096.

Significantly, regional investments increased by 50% over the past five years with more people employed by IDA companies outside Dublin than ever before.

A total of 54,868 jobs were created outside of Dublin over the period, leading to 33,118 additional direct jobs on the ground in regions at the end of this strategy.

In all, 110 investments were won for regions in 2019 with 5,368 net jobs created. Every region hit the five-year strategy targets of a 30% uplift in investment, with the Mid West, Mid East and South East having exceeded 40% of targets.

In the South West region, IDA Ireland achieved an uplift of 37% in FDI investments over the past five years.

Ray O'Connor, IDA Ireland, Business development manager, South West region
Ray O'Connor, IDA Ireland, Business development manager, South West region

“We set out in an ambitious strategy to achieve a 30 to 40% uplift in investments for all regional locations outside Dublin,” said Ray O’Connor, business development manager for the South West region.

“We had never done this before as an organisation, but it was a statement of intent in terms of our focus in trying to increase the level of benefits of FDI outside of the major cities, particularly Dublin.

“We have achieved that in every region, and here in the South West, covering the counties of Cork and Kerry, IDA Ireland has delivered a 37% overall uplift on investments over our previous strategy.”

The successful delivery of FDI across the country and to the South West demonstrates that the IDA’s commitment on regional development is working and has delivered jobs on the ground.

“The South West has an established and dynamic FDI base, with a strong supporting ecosystem and is currently home to 202 leading global companies employing 42,847 people across all industry sectors from life sciences to financial services,” he added.

Cork and Kerry: Strong value proposition

Cork and Kerry have a competitive and strong value proposition for companies — factors that have contributed significantly to the securing of new investments for the region right through the five-year strategy.

“The strong existing FDI ecosystem, combined with a dynamic skills base across industry sectors, and the presence of Institutes of Technology in Tralee & Cork and University College Cork means that the region is able to compete successfully for mobile FDI.

“The development by the private sector of Grade A office space means that we have the property solutions as an urban centre that are attractive to multi-nationals,” said Ray.

“In the South West we value the strategic collaboration with key stakeholders across the Region and all of these factors combined help us to deliver FDI on the ground,” he added.

2019: A year of significant regional investments

2019 was an excellent year for IDA Ireland with investments secured from global companies in manufacturing and services operations.

In Kerry, JRI America has announced plans to expand its technology centre in Tralee which will double its workforce over the next five years.

DePuy Synthes announced a €36 million investment in ground-breaking new research and development projects at its innovation centre, and Stryker announced a €200m investment in research and development.

RIMES and Click Dimensions established EMEA Services Centres in Cork, while Deutsche Borse Group’s post-trade services provider Clearstream officially opened their new offices at Navigation Square in Cork.

IDA Ireland’s Regional Property Programme delivered seven of eleven planned Advance Building Solutions over the past five years, offering investors attractive turnkey building solutions across Regional locations to address market failure.

Pictured at a previous event on the potential for attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for Cork City Centre. Picture: Diane Cusack
Pictured at a previous event on the potential for attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) for Cork City Centre. Picture: Diane Cusack

Six of the seven buildings completed are now occupied, and the seventh is being prepared for occupation by FDI clients.

On the development of the industry ecosystem in the South West region, Ray O’Connor added: “2019 saw the launch of the IDA Ireland supported Irish Cyber Security Cluster, Cyber Ireland — which represents the needs of the sector and aims to enhance the growth and competitiveness of all the companies and organisations involved.

“Based in Cork, this national cluster fosters collaboration and connection between industry, academia, and Government, and ensures that the South West region, and indeed Ireland, is well placed to support and encourage job creation and innovation in this new technology area.”

Winning investments for regional locations is a team effort, and competing for and winning new investments of value will continue to remain a strategic priority for IDA Ireland.

IDA-backed investments made in the past five years


Pramerica Systems: Letterkenny, Co Donegal, 330 new jobs over three years with potential for further growth.

Northern Trust: Limerick, 300 new jobs over three years — second jobs announcement by the firm in three years.

Apple: Expansion of its campus in Hollyhill, Cork, adding a new building to provide office space for 1,000 extra workers.

Bausch + Lomb: Unveiled plans to invest €75m in manufacturing capacity in Waterford; an expected 125 additional jobs.

Workday: Unveiled plans for 200 jobs in enterprise cloud applications for finance and HR companies. HQ is in Dublin 7.

Agora Publishing: Establishment of a multilingual contact centre in Portlaw in Waterford, adding 100 jobs.

Bill Bonner of Agora Publishing
Bill Bonner of Agora Publishing


HubSpot: Opening Dublin office, plans to hire an extra 320 Dublin-based employees over three years.

OPKO Health: Expansion announced plans to create 200 highly-skilled jobs over five years in Waterford.

Amazon: Unveiled plans for 500 new jobs in Ireland. Data centre technicians, software engineers, and customer support staff over two years at its Dublin facilities.

First Data: Announced the establishment of a research and development centre in Nenagh, Co Tipperary, that will house up to 300 highly- skilled employees.

Wayfair: Online furnishings and décor company unveiled plans to expand its multi-lingual European centre in Galway creating around 160 jobs.

Oracle: Announced 450 new roles and the opening of a new offices in Dublin to accommodate its growth.


Indeed: Announced expansion plans for its Dublin-based EMEA headquarters, adding 500 new employees over the next two years.

Graebel Companies: Unveiled plans for 125 new jobs in EMEA financial shared services centre in Dundalk, Co Louth.

Microsoft: Plans to hire 600 people. Following selection of Dublin for one of four global inside sales centres, 500 new roles were created with immediate effect, with a further 100 created across its existing operations.

Regeneron: A further expansion of its Limerick Industrial Operations and Product Supply (IOPS) bioprocessing campus with an additional 300 jobs and investment of €89.8m bringing the total expected employment to 800 people and total investment to €673.5m.

YapStone: Announced it would invest €41m expanding of its operations in Drogheda, Co Louth, adding 200 new jobs.

Wasdell Group: Unveiled the creation of a pharma packaging, testing and distribution in Dundalk, creating 300 jobs over five years.


Abbott: Plans to expand its manufacturing facility in Donegal, resulting in the creation of around 500 jobs in the next number of years.

Edwards Lifesciences: Unveiled plans to establish a manufacturing facility in Limerick, creating 600 jobs when fully operational. The €160m investment is the company’s largest manufacturing investment in the EU. The facility is under construction at the National Technology Park in Limerick.

MSD: Plans for a second manufacturing facility at its existing site in Carlow, with 170 new jobs.

VoxPro: The expansion of its existing facility in Cork into adjacent new offices, resulting in the creation of around 400 new jobs over the next number of years, growing the company’s total number of jobs in Ireland to 3,000.

WuXi Biologics: Revealed plans to invest €325m and create 400 jobs over five years in a biologics drug substance plant in Dundalk, Co Louth, which is under construction at present. WuXi Vaccines then announced plans in November 2019 for a €215.5m vaccine production facility on the WuXi Biologics Campus with a further 200 new jobs over five years.

Genesys: Announced the creation of 200 technology jobs over the following three years at the company’s new Galway office.


Salesforce: Announced it is to create 1,500 jobs over the next five years and establishing ‘Salesforce Tower’, an urban campus of four interconnected buildings on North Wall Quay in Dublin’s Silicon Docks.

Facebook: Announced plans to hire 1,000 people in 60 teams in Ireland in 2019. The jobs span the engineering, safety, legal, policy, marketing and sales teams.

Johnson & Johnson Vision: Unveiled around 100 jobs and €100m investment in its manufacturing operations in National Technology Park, Plassey, Co Limerick.

JRI America: Tech firm supporting the Japanese Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp, announced plans to expand its technology centre in Tralee, Co Kerry, 100 new jobs over five years.

Indeed: Announced the creation of 600 additional roles at its Dublin-based headquarters for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, stemming from its expansion into its new Capital Dock HQ.

Allstate Sales Group: Announced the establishment of two software development and CAD support centres in Waterford and Sligo, creating 100 jobs in each location.

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