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IDA Ireland has announced that foreign direct investment (FDI) employment in the country has reached a record high of almost 200,000.
It said that total employment at overseas companies now stands at 199,877 people, the highest level on record. IDA client companies created just under 19,000 jobs over the course of 2016, with every region in Ireland posting net gains in jobs. At 244, the number of investments was also at a record high.
IDA Ireland has set a target of 80,000 new jobs and 900 investments by 2019.
IDA Ireland said that the UK's vote to leave the EU has led to "a significant volume of specific queries to IDA offices from across the world." It explained that these queries have originated in the UK, the US, and Asia, and that companies are "seeking to mitigate risk and ensure that they have access to the European market post-Brexit." It added that companies appear to be undertaking due diligence of a small number of European locations, including Ireland.
IDA Ireland did nevertheless warn that there are also likely to be adverse impacts. "FDI companies that depend heavily on the UK market have already been impacted by exchange rates and they may also need to consider their future access to the UK market in a post-Brexit environment."
IDA Ireland has launched a communications campaign aimed at promoting Ireland as an FDI location, emphasizing the attractiveness of the corporate tax rate, and the country's commitment to remaining "at the heart of Europe." The campaign comprises a film and a range of print and online adverts. The IDA said these adverts "draw attention to the most important statistics of all – our 100 percent commitment to the EU, our talent demographics, and the 12.5 percent corporation tax rate."
Mary Mitchell O'Connor, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise, and Innovation, said: "IDA's success in 2016 is a reminder that policy stability is an absolutely key part of our investment offering here in Ireland. Companies like stability and consistency and I will work with Government to ensure that Ireland is in a position to compete for a large share of foreign direct investment in 2017."
IDA Chief Executive Officer Martin Shanahan added: "That companies have continued to invest in Ireland is testament to the quality of the offering we have here. That being said – we absolutely cannot be complacent about this success – we have to keep an eye on our competitiveness including costs."
He said: "Our membership of the European Union has become an even more important selling point since the European referendum in the UK. Our membership gives us all important access to the European market, but also gives us access to a European labor pool which allows talented people to come and work in Ireland. Given that it is access to talent that will dictate which jurisdictions win investment in the future, access to the European labor market is a significant positive for Ireland."
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