Ireland has fallen behind the UK when it comes to creating an attractive tax environment for starting a business, Enterprise Ireland chief executive Julie Sinnamon has said.
Ms Sinnamon - head of the State agency tasked with developing Irish businesses - said the UK has a "more attractive package of incentives" than Ireland, and added that a strong offering in this area would help "further accelerate the growth of Irish companies".
She said she recognised the Government's intent to make changes in this area, including a plan to boost capital gains tax relief for entrepreneurs by increasing the amount of gains that would be taxed at a reduced rate.
The capital gains tax regime is one of the areas that have been criticised by entrepreneurs, alongside the tax treatment of share options.
A new regime for certain share option schemes was introduced in last year's Budget, but was criticised as overly restrictive and then tweaked in this year's Budget after a low level of take-up.
The development of Irish firms is increasingly in the spotlight amid increased threats to our FDI regime, ranging from multi-national tax reform to US president Donald Trump's overhaul of the US tax code.
At its annual conference yesterday, Irish Small and Medium Enterprises Association chairman Ciaran Murtagh said: "We have long said the emphasis on foreign direct investment in Ireland is too great.
"We have long called out the universal political failure to embrace the contribution that small enterprise makes to Ireland.
"We need to accept that the way we've managed industrial policy since the TK Whitaker era has to change, and we need to pivot industrial policy towards indigenous enterprise."
Earlier this week, the Nation- al Competitiveness Council (NCC) warned that most Irish firms are seeing their productivity shrink, with a small number of big companies masking the under-performance of smaller companies which account for most of the employment in the State.