Ireland must do more to remain promised land for tech sector
NEARLY every time The Punt hears that an overseas technology company will invest in Ireland, it is followed by a proviso, usually from the IDA, about how hard it is to attract investment here.
The competition from other countries is intense, with Israel now seen as one of Ireland's biggest rivals in the tech sector.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in Intel, where the Leixlip campus is competing fiercely with its Israeli counterpart to be chosen by the company as a production site for the next generation of microchips.
Make no mistake, Israel is a big rival to Ireland in the tech world.
Like Ireland, it is a (generally) English speaking country, with close ties to the US.
Politically it is a stable democracy, and while the security situation is clear for the world to see, The Punt found day-to-day life there little different to Dublin during The Troubles.
Tense? Of course. Does that stop anyone carrying on with their lives? Absolutely not.
Unlike Ireland, mobile communications are considered a critical national infrastructure and protected by the security service. You are unlikely to lose internet access for no reason.
There is also a strong start-up culture there. One Israeli executive suggested this might be because young people grow up quickly there. When you spend three years in one of the most active armies in the world from the age of 18, striking out on your own at 21 or 22 is not a scary proposition.
Nevertheless, Ireland is still in a good position. Unlike Israel, we are in the EU, and in that geographic sweetspot between the US and Europe.
We mustn't lose sight though of the "threat" from other countries looking for foreign direct invest-ment.