Thank you, Sharon.
Taoiseach, ladies and gentlemen, it’s a pleasure to join you here this morning for the official opening of LinkedIn’s new EMEA HQ.
€85 million is a huge investment. This project created hundreds of construction jobs at a crucial time in our recovery and its completion now enables LinkedIn to sustain 1,250 jobs into the future.
Things move quickly in the tech world.
At the turn of the millennium LinkedIn didn’t exist; now it’s a $3.2 billion global company. In 2010 you established a Dublin office with 3 employees; now there are over 1,000 of you - wow!
The Government – and the agencies of my Department – have to work hard to keep up and to continue attracting highly innovative and high quality Foreign Direct Investment, such as yours, to our shores.
Ireland is open for business and we are working every day to create a more open and business-friendly work environment, with a minimum of red tape and administrative hurdles.
We are increasing our investment in skills and education to ensure a continuous output of suitably qualified graduates.
My Department – the Department of Business, Enterprise & Innovation - endeavours to create the environment for continued jobs growth. We plug skills gaps as they arise through employment permits. And we operate a streamlined ‘Trusted Partner Programme’ which has a 2-day turnaround for employment permits for high volume users.
I want to thank Martin Shanahan and IDA Ireland for their tireless work in sourcing only the best FDI for Ireland.
The number of new investments in FDI increased by 12% in 2016, against a background of global economic uncertainty, intense competition from other jurisdictions and a changing global taxation landscape.
Just last month, IBM’s 2017 Global Locations Trends Report ranked Ireland as the best country for high-value FDI - for the sixth year in a row.
Ireland is home to:
- 9 of the top 10 global software companies;
- 9 of the top 10 US technology companies;
- All of the top 10 ‘Born on the Internet’ companies;
- 9 of the top 10 global pharmaceutical firms;
- 15 of the 20 top global medical technologies companies
LinkedIn’s mission is to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful. This complements my own mission as Minister for Business, Enterprise & Innovation – which involves sustaining a productive and successful jobs market, where anyone who wants a job can have a job, and where anyone who has a job can get a better job.
As the Taoiseach said, there should be no cap on aspiration in the Republic of Opportunity we wish to build.
But a successful jobs market can never be taken for granted. In Ireland, we need no reminder of that. And one of my priorities in developing the 2018 Action Plan for Jobs is to ensure that we sustain a cross-Government focus to secure the gains already made and to keep us on track to deliver sustainable economic and employment growth across the country.
As a small open economy, Ireland must continually focus on the bigger picture, the external challenges we face.
We live in uncertain economic and political times. Massive technological disruption, and the urgent need to address issues such as climate change, adds to the challenges for small open economies.
To remain competitive, we need to focus on what will be required to grow the economy both today and in the future.
It must involve a relentless focus on innovation, diversification, cutting costs and seeking new markets.
It must involve maintaining a competitive tax environment and an ambitious, regionally-balanced capital investment programme.
Brexit, of course, poses an unprecedented challenge for the Irish economy and its effects are already manifest in the form of the currency situation, general business uncertainty and decisions about whether to invest or not.
As Minister for Business, Enterprise & Innovation, I am acutely conscious of the Brexit effect here in Ireland and I am actively working across government, with our agencies and industry, to ensure we are ‘Brexit ready’.
In the meantime, IDA Ireland will be capitalising on the opportunities presented by Brexit - winning further investments, whether they are expansions from companies with an existing presence here, or new businesses arriving into Ireland.
Brexit or no Brexit, we will continue to be part of the single market with all the advantages that brings for companies which are based here. Companies come here because we are an English speaking country in the Eurozone, because they can rely on the stability and transparency of the Irish legal and taxation regime, because of the quality of our workforce and because we provide a pro-business environment which is mutually beneficial for investing companies and for indigenous companies alike.
I want to thank you again for the invitation to join you at the start of this new adventure. I wish you the very best in your new abode and I look forward to visiting again in the future.
For further information please contact Press Office, D/Business, Enterprise and Innovation 01 631 2200 or firstname.lastname@example.org