Low-tax incentive wins 250 new jobs for West
IRELAND'S low corporation tax rate was a driving factor behind the creation of 250 new jobs announced yesterday.
Management at US multinational healthcare company Hollister yesterday said the 12.5pc rate on offer here was the key factor in deciding to expand its plant in Ballina, Co Mayo.
And the Government moved swiftly to reiterate its commitment to ensuring that the hugely attractive rate would remain unchanged.
"We're absolutely assuring multinational companies that we will retain our 12.5pc (rate)," Enterprise Minister Batt O'Keeffe said.
Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny also committed his party in government to leaving the rate unchanged. He said an increase would be a major breach of trust with international, particularly US, business.
"I will not be party to such a breach of trust," Mr Kenny said.
A fortnight ago, EU Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn sparked controversy when he answered a question about Ireland's low corporation tax rate by saying it was "a fact of life" that Ireland would no longer be a low-tax economy over the next 10 years.
The Taoiseach later insisted that Mr Rehn was referring to the tax take of the country overall. Mr Cowen said he did not envisage the Government making inappropriate decisions that would risk the country's continuing investment profile.
In Ballina yesterday, Hollister's senior vice-president Bob Crowe outlined his company's reasons for choosing to expand its Mayo plant rather than locate the jobs elsewhere.
"There is cheaper labour in the world, but we have been involved now for about 34 years (in Ballina) and we have an outstanding workforce there."
Asked about the importance of the 12.5pc rate in Hollister's decision to locate the new jobs in Ballina, Mr Crowe said: "It's very, very important. The tax rate allows us to re-invest in our facilities. If it weren't there, it would really open us up to looking globally at new sites to manufacture our products."
Locations in Eastern Europe, India and the US also pitched for the new plant, but lost out to Ireland's tax incentive.
Along with the 250 new high-end manufacturing positions, a further 250 jobs will be created in the construction of the 75,000 sq ft expansion of the Ballina facility.