Saturday 16 December 2017

IDA warning over shortage of prime space

Richard Bruton and Barry O'Leary
Richard Bruton and Barry O'Leary
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

THE IDA has warned that a shortage of prime commercial property in Dublin could hamper its efforts at attracting large multinational firms.

Speaking at the launch of the IDA's annual report, Barry O'Leary said four large investments would require 400,000 sq ft of commercial space in the Dublin area in coming months.

He said a further 200,000 sq ft of commercial space would likely be required for potential projects, also. He did not name any of the proposed investments.

"If design and construction doesn't start soon, it may become an issue," he said.

Mr O'Leary said there were 5,000 construction jobs related to IDA companies at present.

Speaking at the launch yesterday, Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said he was due to bring the issue of commercial space availability up at cabinet level. He said NAMA may have a further role to play in the area. Mr O'Leary also defended Ireland's tax policy, saying he could not see Ireland moving unilaterally to change the so-called "double-Irish" system.

"It's not exclusive to Ireland," he said. "What worries me when pitching for a big bio-pharma project worth up to a billion euro is that the Swiss and Singaporeans will offer them zero per cent."

Mr O'Leary also said tax was not the primary reason for companies locating in Ireland.

"Tax is not number one, it's talent," he said.

Mr O'Leary said he did not know how many Irish multinational firms used the so-called double-Irish tax arrangement.

Asked about the non-tax status of Apple's European operations, Mr O'Leary said that Amazon and Starbucks used similar structures for their European operations.

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