IDA claws back €55m in grants from multinationals over 10 years

Grants to companies are clawed back when firms fail to provide the jobs they had promised
IDA claws back €55m in grants from multinationals over 10 years

Martin Shanahan IDA chief executive. Picture: Maxwell’s

The IDA has clawed back almost €55m in grants from multinational companies over 10 years. 

That is according to figures provided by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar in a written Dáil reply to Social Democrats co-leader, Catherine Murphy.

Mr Varadkar said the largest annual clawback of the grants was in 2011 when the IDA got back €18.7m from 11 companies. 

The 2020 figures were not available for public release, he said. 

Grants to companies are clawed back when firms fail to provide the jobs they had promised.   

In 2010, the IDA revoked €12.8m in grants from 16 companies as unemployment soared during the last economic crisis.

The second-lowest annual amount occurred in 2019 when €1.68m was clawed back from five companies, as the economy continued to grow before the onset of the Covid-19 crisis, and €5.7m was revoked in 2018 and €5m in 2017. 

The Tánaiste revealed that during the same period, Enterprise Ireland reclaimed €9.26m from 134 companies.

The figures show that Enterprise Ireland had reclaimed €914,675 in grants from 10 companies in 2019.

The highest annual total for Enterprise Ireland was in 2014, involving €3.1m from 23 companies.

One recent example where a company repaid State grants involves the US firm Molex Ireland, which shut down its operations in Shannon Town in 2019 and 2020.

Recently filed accounts for Molex Ireland show it repaid Government grants totalling €2.87m when it shut the plant with the loss of over 450 jobs. 

The Tánaiste said in the Dáil reply that in all cases when financial assistance was approved by the IDA, the client company signed a binding contract with the agency. 

He said the contracts were confidential but included milestones for financial assistance to be paid over. 

Any company signing the grant agreement does so in full knowledge “that the penalty for non-performance is the pro-rata repayment of the grant", Mr Varadkar said. The Tánaiste did not provide the names of the companies as some of the firms continue to provide a significant number of jobs in Ireland, he said.

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