The new president of the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland has no intelligence indicating an increased security threat against American companies based here.
Eamonn Sinnott, who is Intel’s general manager in Ireland, said the recent bomb scare at Intel’s factory in Leixlip, Co Kildare, was “a bit of a non-event”.
Gardai said the incident remains under investigation.
Last week the Irish Independent reported that a hoax caller, ringing from a payphone in Balbriggan, north Co Dublin, claimed he had planted 12 devices at the Leixlip plant in the name of the Isis terrorist group.
“What happened last week was really a strange event, a bit of a non-event, we were back in operation within two hours,” Mr Sinnott said.
“We got a call from the police, they reckoned we should evacuate and of course we did. But when all the dust settles down I think that everybody had the right intention. Perhaps it was the context of what had gone on in France in previous weeks.”
Mr Sinnott, who took over from Paypal’s Louise Phelan as American Chamber president on this month, said Ireland must not be complacent about attracting US investment.
This country was ranked 15th most competitive in the most recent ‘World Competitiveness Yearbook’ compiled by the Swiss business school IMD, and Mr Sinnott said he’d like to see that ranking increase.
He said rising healthcare and property costs are among the biggest threats to Ireland’s competitiveness,
“The increase in healthcare costs over the last decade or so is in excess of 200pc...at some point that becomes a tipping point,” Mr Sinnott said.
“Or the property prices increase, a 15pc increase in residential property prices. While some regard it as positive, the first thing that companies that are trying to expand here in Ireland need to know is that their workforce can get places to live.
“The point is not that we have to be number one but we have to watch the trend and make sure that we don’t allow that competitive position to erode.”
Mr Sinnott said he wants to see the Government incentivise spending on innovation, and plans for the “Knowledge Development Box” tax incentive.
“The day we rest on our laurels is the day we can begin to say it’s the beginning of the end,” Mr Sinnott said.
“There are lower-tax jurisdictions, there are places with availability of skills and talent that are all competing for the sort of things that we do.
Intel has been in Ireland for nearly 26 years and invested an average of €880m a year in its first 25 years in this country.
Over 700 US companies are located here.