No vote would be ‘disaster’ for luring US companies

IRELAND is well-placed to remain an attractive location for foreign direct investment from US companies, although any potential No vote in the upcoming Lisbon referendum would almost certainly change that standing.

That was a view expressed by noted Irish-American philanthropist and chairperson of the American Ireland Fund Loretta Brennan-Glucksman at the inaugural Global Irish Economic Forum, held at Farmleigh House over the weekend.

Speaking between sessions at Farmleigh, on Saturday, Ms Brennan-Glucksman said she was “very relieved” that IDA Ireland – of which she is also a board member – has maintained a healthy pipeline of investment over the course of the past 12 months.

“That is our lifeblood. The IDA has kept the quantity and quality of investment and, as a result, has maintained Ireland’s competitiveness. The country is still holding its own on many levels, but there is still a lot of work to do. But, I think it’s crucial to note that we recognise our weaknesses and, more importantly, where they may develop,” she said.

She added that no change to the Government’s corporate tax rate for overseas companies, currently at 12.5%, remains a key positive for investing firms. She also said that any lowering of that rate in the US (as has been mooted and which could act as competition to Ireland) isn’t likely in the short term.

On the pending second Lisbon vote, Ms Brennan-Glucksman said it would be “unconscionable” of the Irish people to vote it down and potentially “disastrous” in the message it would send out to foreign companies interested in investing here.

Her view on Lisbon has been echoed today. Employers representative body, IBEC will formally publish a survey showing that 90% of Irish employers feel that a Yes vote is important towards supporting ongoing foreign direct investment into Ireland – the study making the point that Ireland outranks the popular BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) bracket of developing economies, in terms of US investment.


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