IDA Ireland expects to unveil at least another four significant inward investment announcements before the end of the year — mainly in the technology sector — but has said it remains only “cautiously optimistic” regarding the second half of 2013.
Speaking at yesterday’s announcement of a strong inward investment showing for the first half of the year, IDA chief Barry O’Leary said it was difficult to say whether or not 2013 is likely to repeat the record net job creation levels — amongst client companies — seen in each of the last two years.
Increasing competition for multinational investment from other countries, low levels of available office space in Ireland’s major cities and slow growth in the eurozone economy all pose challenges, he said.
“There is a clear slowdown in Europe and this poses a particular challenge. Nevertheless, there are opportunities in sectors like technology, international financial services, life sciences and where consolidation is taking place on a pan-European basis,” he said, also noting that the agency is confident of taking advantage of new high growth areas like ‘big data analytics’.”
Mr O’Leary said that “a number of significant projects” are in the pipeline and the aforementioned four are likely to take up around 600,000sq ft in office space, mainly in the Dublin area.
He said this would put pressure on available space, adding that construction planning for new offices needs to begin soon to keep the flow of inward investment going: “The number of properties, in prime locations, available for future foreign direct investment expansions is starting to reduce, creating a challenge in future years.
“The IDA is working with Nama — and other stakeholders — to address this challenge. Nama is in the strongest leadership position to address these challenges.”
Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said that Government would be addressing the office space issue at its Cabinet meeting on jobs, today.
On tax issues, Mr O’Leary said while the IDA promoted Ireland’s competitive corporate tax rate to prospective clients, it never used the so-called ‘double Irish’ tax avoidance mechanism as a carrot.
He added that Ireland is playing “a full part” in the OECD’s base erosion and profit shifting process and will “move forward, multilaterally, with other countries on reforms which may emerge from this process”.
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