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IDA’s departing Shanahan says energy supply for industry key to jobs growth


Martin Shanahan, IDA Ireland CEO

Martin Shanahan, IDA Ireland CEO

Martin Shanahan, IDA Ireland CEO

IDA CEO Martin Shanahan is to leave the agency in early 2023. The planned exit was announced at the agency’s half year results on Wednesday.

IDA Chairman Frank Ryan paid tribute to Mr Shannon and the agency confirmed that an international search for a new leader will now commence. 

“During Martin’s tenure since his appointment in 2014, the number of multinational operations in Ireland increased from 1098 to 1691 and the number of direct jobs within the IDA client portfolio has risen from 161,112 to 275,384 (71% increase) and the economic contribution of FDI in Ireland has increased significantly,” Frank Ryan said.

Martin Shanahan took up his current role in 2014 and before that headed Forfás, the National Policy Advisory Board for Enterprise, Trade, Science, Technology and Innovation having joined the public service from the private sector in 1999.

The departure was announced as IDA reported its half-year results The government agency reported a record half-year period, but Mr Shanahan said the economic outlook for remainder of the year ahead was “volatile, uncertain, complex and very ambiguous”.

FDI investments in the first half of 2022 are up 9pc on 2021 and 10pc on 2019 pre-pandemic levels. Job approvals are also up 44pc compared to 2021 figures and is a third higher than pre-pandemic levels.

IDA has unveiled 155 investments so far this year which look set to create 18,000 jobs. This marks an increase from 12,530 in 2021. 73 of those announced so far this year were targeted at regions outside of Dublin.

In the company’s annual report, IDA reported that FDI contributed 72pc of export sales to the Irish economy, as well as 70pc of corporation tax. The IDA says it expects corporation tax to stay at current levels for the foreseeable future.

The government agency also highlighted that direct expenditure on pay, materials and services from investments totalled €27.9bn in 2021.

Mr Shanahan said, despite the strong pipeline for investment in the second half of the year, the global economic outlook is now more uncertain than it was during the early stages of the pandemic.

He noted that global FDI levels appear to have “stalled” so far this year following a strong recovery in 2021 as inflation rises. According to Mr Shanahan, other issues which may reduce FDI activity include Covid, Brexit, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and international tax changes.

Mr Shanahan said the main areas that now require attention in Ireland are planning around energy and housing.

“Security of supply, availability and power generation” are particularly a concern for international tech companies, as well as data centre operators.

Mr Shanahan said that while international companies investing in Ireland were “acutely aware” of the housing challenges that exist in the country, this was not preventing investment. He added that international companies are currently encountering the same price and supply issues in different markets.

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