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IDA gets back €55m paid to multinational firms in grants

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Leo Varadkar

Leo Varadkar

Leo Varadkar

IDA Ireland has clawed back almost €55m in grants from multinational companies over a 10-year period.

That is according to figures provided by Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar.

In a written Dáil reply to the co-leader of the Social Democrats, Catherine Murphy TD, Mr Varadkar confirmed that the largest annual claw-back of the grants took place in 2011 when the IDA clawed back €18.7m from 11 companies.

This followed the IDA clawing back €12.88m in 2010 from 16 companies as unemployment rates soared.

However, the second lowest annual total occurred in 2019 when a comparatively low €1.68m was clawed back from five companies in 2019 as the economy continued to strengthen.

This followed IDA Ireland seeking a revoking of grants totalling €5.7m in 2018 and €5m in 2017.

One recent example where a company repaid State grants involves United States firm Molex Ireland which shut down operations here in 2019 and 2020 with the loss of over 450 jobs.

Recently filed accounts for Molex Ireland Ltd show repaid Government grants totalling €2.87m as a result of the closure of the Shannon plant.

The Tánaiste said that in all instances where financial assistance is approved by IDA Ireland for a company, the IDA and the client enter into a legal and binding contract, a grant agreement.

He stated that the contract, which is confidential, includes conditions and milestones that are required to be achieved before any financial assistance is paid.

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The Tánaiste stated that a company signs the grant agreement in full knowledge “that the penalty for non-performance is the pro-rata repayment of the grant”.

Mr Varadkar stated that IDA Ireland follows up the claw-back where the agreed performance targets have not been met or, if appropriate, in the event of a company closure.

In the reply, where the Tánaiste revealed the €54.8m claw-back between 2010 and 2019, he stated that the 2020 figure is not yet available for publication.

Mr Varadkar did not provide the identity of the companies concerned after stating that IDA Ireland is of the view that such information “is confidential and commercially sensitive as they are in ongoing relationships with many of the companies on existing and potentially new investments, and the companies continue to provide significant employment in Ireland”.

The Tánaiste revealed that during the same period, Enterprise Ireland, which fosters the growth of Irish-owned businesses in global markets, reclaimed approved grants totalling €9.26m from 134 companies.

The figures show that Enterprise Ireland reclaimed €914,675 in grants from 10 companies in 2019.

The highest annual total for Enterprise Ireland reclaiming grants took place in 2014 when €3.11m was reclaimed from 23 companies.

IDA Ireland, formerly knowns as the Industrial Development Authority, was founded in 1949 to promote foreign direct investment. The current CEO is Martin Shanahan, who has held the role since 2014.

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