Merrion Hotel, Dublin
Wednesday 7th March 2018, 09.00 am
Good morning everyone.
I am delighted to be here today for this impressive collective Investment announcement. I would particularly like to welcome the representatives of each of the companies.
When people hear about Foreign Direct Investment into Ireland from abroad, particularly from companies that originated in North America, they will definitely be aware of the fact that Ireland has indeed been the beneficiary of significant FDI from the big household US names - Intel, Microsoft, IBM, Apple, Google and many others in the ICT sector.
We are very grateful for these companies who have brought thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in investment projects. One in five jobs in Ireland is supported by FDI. That’s over 400,000 people, with 210,000 employed directly by IDA supported clients.
We naturally hope that those big companies will continue to go from strength to strength and thrive here. But we cannot either rest on our laurels or concentrate on the existing big players to the exclusion of others. And that is why we are here today for this important event.
We need to constantly seek out new investment, new ideas, new creative skills, new entrepreneurs and new people who are at the cutting edge of the new and fast moving technologies. Technology is changing so fast that there is a whole new range of opportunities out there that have been barely recognised, except by the visionaries.
Our efforts to continue winning FDI are aided, of course, by the fact that Ireland has a great offering for new investors.
- Our talented workforce remains one of the best in the world.
- Our reputation as a great place to do business is becoming more renowned with every passing year.
- And our track record as a home for decades to many global businesses is a source of continued confidence to new investors.
But those same strengths and selling points, as impressive as they are, should not allow us to become complacent.
The fact is that we need to stay on our toes if we want to remain a global leader in FDI.
That means working hard to retain our competitiveness.
It means investing in economic infrastructure that can support a thriving enterprise base.
We, as a Government are constantly pursuing knowledge-based, skilled sectors in which to build competitive advantage. The enthusiastic commitment of your companies fits perfectly with that aim and we warmly welcome the fact that you have decided to put your feet down here in Ireland.
It cannot be easy for a small dynamic start up business with a small number of employees, to take the big leap to establish itself in a small country on the edge of Europe.
But you are in good company here, with other businesses who have established a presence, with a government that understands the new technologies, one that has put significant supports in place. You will have a supportive eco-system around you.
We welcome these new companies because they are generating economic activity, they are providing a service that consumers want, they are creating jobs and they are moving Ireland up the value chain in terms of enhanced skills and technology adoption.
We are grateful to IDA Ireland for having the foresight to seek out fast growth and early stage companies with high potential. New niche areas are emerging all the time and it requires diligence, application and a strong insight into what is viable and will emerge, to make this process work.
You will find a congenial environment here, even though we cannot match the weather of the US West Coast, from where several of you originate. But the wider environment in terms of business opportunity, on skills availability and competitive factors generally, will surely outweigh what hopefully will be that one single negative, the Irish weather, which, as we have seen last week, can be challenging at times.
Your companies are all in the ICT sector. We have invested heavily in skills for companies like yours.
It is not surprising therefore that Ireland is home to:
- 9 of the top 10 global software companies;
- 9 of the top 10 US technology companies;
- The top 5 top security software companies,
- The top 3 enterprise software companies.
- And - all of the top 10 ‘Born on the Internet’ companies;
We have always been open to new ideas and technologies. We relish the rigours of international competition and opportunity. We have a very attractive offering for new companies. In addition to skills availability, a competitive tax regime and good incentives for research, we offer a broad pro-business environment.
Our Government have made addressing competitive issues a top priority. It is heartening to see that we are once again climbing the international competitiveness charts.
To conclude, the Irish Government are delighted that you have made this step and we warmly welcome the new jobs that will be created.
Most of all we welcome you as pioneers, blazing a new trail, making the impossible happen, creating needs and services which did not exist only a short time ago. We will follow your progress and your inevitable upward trajectory with keen interest.
So, I wish you heartfelt success in you endeavours here in Ireland.