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William Fry upbeat on bright future for Irish economy

William Fry upbeat on bright future for Irish economy
Gráinne Varian, Brian O'Callaghan, partner and Head of Cork Office, and Laura Houlihan of law firm William Fry. Picture: Chris Bellew

Brian O’Callaghan reports on good signs for business in Ireland.

Ireland remains well-placed between the US and Europe, both physically and metaphorically, ensuring it remains one of the best places in the world to do business.

Today US investment accounts for 67% of all FDI in Ireland with more than 160,000 people directly employed in more than 700 US firms here.

These companies indirectly support more than a further 100,000 jobs in the Irish economy, in total accounting for 20% of employment in Ireland.

We remain one of the best places in the world to do business. This is not just due to our transparent tax system, our 12.5% corporate tax rate or our track record.

Ireland remains a committed member of the European Union and provides companies with guaranteed access to the European market.

We are now the only English-speaking country in the eurozone and provide a strong case for organisations seeking a European base.

We have seen a notable increase in the number of FDI companies considering Ireland as their Gateway to Europe.

The IDA and FDI service providers work tirelessly to ensure that global corporations’ expansion into Ireland is seamless, cementing Ireland’s excellent FDI reputation.

We are confident Ireland will continue to be an attractive location for US investors seeking to do business in Europe.

Its contribution to the economy is far-reaching and around 20% of all private sector employment in Ireland is directly or indirectly attributed to FDI.

William Fry upbeat on bright future for Irish economy

We have the highest number ever (circa 230,000) employed in the multinational sector.

Importantly, we have the largest regional employment growth in 17 years. Some 186 multinational companies are now based in the South Region, employing over 40,000 people.

The technology sector across the South West which includes international giants like Dell EMC, Apple and McAfee, grew by 6% to almost 17,000 jobs.

There has also been extremely strong growth in the international financial services sector, where 16 companies now employ 1,500 people, a 12% increase in just 12 months.

It’s a sector of significant potential growth in the coming years.

The bio-pharmaceutical industry continues to grow with more than 9,000 people employed in 24 companies.

In recognition of this, last year William Fry opened an office in Cork expanding the number of offices globally to six.

This was to better service the increased demand for legal services from existing Cork and Munster clients but also to enable the firm to work with potential FDI companies across the full spectrum of legal requirements.

The quality of Cork’s offer is evident by the calibre of its investors which include Eli Lilly, IBM, Stryker and BNY Mellon.

It is also evident through company operations with depth and breadth across R&D, Advanced Manufacturing and Headquarter functions.

Cork’s success and opportunity lies in a wide range of key sectors including software, life sciences, financial and business services, engineering, agri-food and maritime.

Brian O'Callaghan, partner, at the opening of the Cork office of William Fry solicitors
Brian O'Callaghan, partner, at the opening of the Cork office of William Fry solicitors

There is also a diverse range of activities across sectors including internationally competitive research and advanced manufacturing.

There’s a growing diversity in the region with people from many nationalities relocating to Cork.

Few other regions offer the opportunity to work with global giants in a cost-effective location that offers an excellent quality of life.

As an export destination, the UK has always been the primary market for Irish exports and the most common target for Irish businesses trying to expand.

While the UK’s proportion of Irish trade has been declining over time, Brexit is acting as a catalyst, accelerating this trend.

As Irish businesses look beyond our nearest neighbour for expansion opportunities, the US is an obvious target.

There are some geopolitical headwinds around trade policy, which may create certain sector specific challenges, particularly for businesses exporting into the US, but on the whole the US will continue to be an attractive market for Irish companies

The William Fry office in Cork is led by Brian O’Callaghan, a partner within the firm’s Real Estate Department Laura Houlihan, a senior associate in the Banking and Finance Department, and Gráinne Varian, a senior associate in Litigation and Dispute Resolution Department.

In Munster, William Fry currently works with clients in the Banking & Finance, Real Estate, Technology, Food, Beverages & Agribusiness, Healthcare & Life Sciences, Retail & Leisure, Construction, Energy and Telecoms & Media sectors.

Clients have access to the firm’s Cork based team in addition to team members in William Fry’s Dublin, London, New York, San Francisco and Silicon Valley offices.


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