Tuesday 20 August 2019

State of Ireland's housing, infrastructure and planning a growing concern for US multinationals, Fourth of July lunch hears

(stock photo)
(stock photo)

Shawn Pogatchnik

THE quality of Ireland's housing supply, infrastructure and planning represent a growing concern for US multinationals here, the American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland has warned.

Chamber president Mark Gantly, who is senior R&D director at Hewlett Packard Enterprise in Ireland, made the comments on Thursday at the chamber’s Fourth of July luncheon, attended by leaders of some 700 US corporations in Ireland that employ more than 155,000 people in Ireland. Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe also attended.

“Multinational companies’ principal concern right now is how to attract and retain talented individuals from abroad to work and live here, and also how to develop and retain our home-grown talent. Increasingly we are scored on quality of life factors where we must measure up against competing international destinations,” Mr Gantly said.

“This morning our chamber brought together the leadership of member companies for a full and frank conversation on these issues. There was a consensus that residential accommodation, and physical and digital infrastructure, must not slip from our agenda. In particular, we must resolve the uncertainties and bottlenecks in our planning system,” he said.

Mr Gantly said US employers in Ireland view the Government’s Project Ireland 2040 plans “as critical for competitiveness” and want to see its core development goals delivered efficiently. “Our future economic well being and success depends on our ability to get things done and get them done quickly,” he said.

In his speech, Minister Donohoe said he understood the concerns of US multinationals and the challenging of competing for globally mobile investment. He noted that, although the scale of US investment in Ireland and Irish investment in America were at unprecedented highs, good relations should never be taken for granted.

Minister Donohoe highlighted the international debate over digital taxation, and Ireland’s central role in policing the European activities of US social media giants based in Ireland, as key points where Irish-American consensus must be reached. He singled out the attendance of Data Commissioner Helen Dixon and described her office as “a body now that is so important in that relationship."

The US Chamber of Commerce said Carin Bryans, senior country officer for JP Morgan in Ireland, would succeed Mr Gantly as president next year.

The lobbying group also announced four new board appointments that reflected the scope of American investment here: Liz Cunningham, tax director at Google Ireland; Paul Farrell, IBM country general manager; Brian Farrell, vice president of tax at recruitment company Indeed, and Paul Sheahan, manager of global manufacturing projects at General Electric subsidiary Baker Hughes.

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