Rent and energy costs too high, US Chamber president warns
HIGH rents in Dublin, rising energy bills and expensive labour costs need to be kept down to encourage US multinationals invest in Ireland, the new president of the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland has warned.
Louise Phelan, Vice President of Global Operations in Europe, the Middle East & Africa at PayPal, said renewed price pressures in the Dublin property market was an issue requiring urgent attention.
"Even before the recovery began there was a debate around the need for a greater supply of high-quality office accommodation for modern technology-driven businesses establishing here," she said.
"If this shortage is compounded by significant price rises we will be sending the wrong message to potential investors."
The US chamber represents the interests of 700 multinationals which employ more than 115,000 people nationwide.
Ms Phelan said investment in Ireland by US multinational companies remained strong, with firms making 118 investments last year, accounting for 72pc of all IDA announcements.
However, concerns were raised over Ireland being the fifth most expensive location in the eurozone for electricity for industrial use.
In her new role Ms Phelan will advise the Government on the challenges facing US companies in Ireland and promote the importance of foreign direct investment.
She wants the education system overhauled to support innovative and entrepreneurial thinking among young people and fill the skills gap.
The businesswoman also insisted that Ireland's controversial 12.5pc corporate tax rate was critical and non-negotiable for US investors.
Ms Phelan said labour costs could not afford to spiral, and she wanted Government to consider taking more people out of the highest income tax bracket. She said the golden triangle of tax, talent and competitiveness were also key to capitalise on the gains made since the bailout.