Foreign firms to create 80,000 new jobs by 2019
Foreign companies will create 80,000 new jobs by 2019 as foreign direct investment by more than 40pc, the IDA forecast.
The agency tasked with attracting multinationals here set out its new five-year strategy yesterday, pledging an increase investment in the regions.
IDA chief Martin Shanahan said the number employed by multinationals will surge to 209,000 by 2019 under a plan to win 900 individual projects over the next five years.
Mr Shanahan said the task won't be straightforward. "The goals we're setting out here won't be delivered easily. Every single investment is hard won," he said.
Around 174,000 people work in multinationals here, the highest figure in the State's history. IDA-supported companies account for €124bn in exports, and 66pc of the corporation tax paid.
Mr Shanahan said the plan is to achieve the same level of investment in Dublin over the next five years as in the previous five, and to increase investment by between 30pc and 40pc in all other regions. This is a change from the previous strategy, which said half of foreign investment had to be in areas outside Dublin and Cork. This target was not met.
But Mr Shanahan said the new plan was more ambitious. He said there were 244 investments outside of the State's two main cities under the previous plan, and that would increase to 342 in the new strategy. And he pointed out that 59pc of employment in IDA-backed firms is outside of Dublin.
"We are moving away from contrasting Dublin and Cork with the regions," he said.
"We are marketing every region to its full potential and relative to its potential rather than creating a situation where people believe that because Dublin is getting more, a regional area is getting less. It doesn't work like that."
A €150m property investment plan, spread out over the five years, will be used to support the regional targets and help lure companies away from the urban centres.
"Providing advance property solutions and locations is certainly an inducement. Where a company can turn a key and have a ready-made office building or technology building to walk into, that makes a difference," Mr Shanahan said.
The 900 new investments will be a combination of new attractions and expansions from existing companies. The IDA said job losses will also be inevitable, but it is trying to minimise these to deliver a minimum of 35,000 net new jobs - a 40pc increase on the last strategy.
The number of companies is expected to grow from 1,195 now, to 1350 in 2019. The US would remain the key FDI source. But a focus will also be on bringing first-time investors from Europe, Asia Pacific and the US.
Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said the challenge will be in delivering. "A key part of this strategy is to build on the success of the regions, every single region is growing in terms of IDA employment, but we believe we can do better," he said.
The minister criticised Sinn Fein, saying it was pushing a tax policy regime that "does not protect the competitive base". Mr Shanahan said a continuation of pro-business policies is a requirement for FDI. He also said the prospect of a British referendum on the EU had created uncertainty for the UK.