Furthermore, Dublin ranks as Europe’s fourth most attractive city for foreign investors over the next three years, with a trebling of positive responses compared to 2020.
US companies accounted for 59% of the total number of Irish FDI projects during the year, highlighting the continued strength of the US-Ireland connection, while potentially signalling an opportunity to increase the number of projects sourced from other regions. Ireland remains a favoured location for international headquarters and global business services investments, with software and IT services being the biggest project creator, followed by business and professional services. Ireland recorded a slight fall in the number of investment projects in 2021 (-8%) as a result of the overall fall in US investment projects to Europe as well as the reduction in software and IT services investments during 2021.
What makes Ireland attractive
Ireland’s business-friendly tax regime, education system, quality of life, and business-friendly environment were all cited by respondents as top drivers of its attractiveness. Ireland’s rating around sustainability-related factors was exceptionally strong with the majority saying we perform as well as, or better than, the European average for the availability of skills to facilitate sustainability projects. The availability of finance for sustainability projects and the regulation to support sustainable business practices were also highly rated.
On the other hand, labour costs and housing affordability were among the least attractive factors.
The majority of respondents believe Ireland's attractiveness will either improve or remain the same over next three years, with the digital economy, cleantech, and energy likely to be the sectors that will fuel this progress.
When asked to name priority areas for Government action to maintain Ireland’s FDI attractiveness, respondents placed the geographic rebalancing of the economy, investment in international connectivity, and skills development at the top of the list.
Investment in the decarbonisation of Ireland’s energy system to accelerate progress towards a net-zero economy was also highlighted as a necessary area of policy focus. Surprisingly, despite the clear issue of housing, just 16% felt that government policy should focus on improving social infrastructure, including housing, schools, and hospitals.
This survey is a snapshot in time, and FDI can be influenced by numerous factors in any given year. War, geopolitics, supply chain disruptions, and the COVID-19 pandemic are recent and ongoing examples of external forces significantly influencing FDI activity both in the short term and over time. Ireland’s sustained success in attracting FDI over many decades has been due to the consistency of messaging to investors and the success of those investors’ Irish operations. Now, more than ever, Ireland needs to articulate its value proposition clearly and consistently, and to address key priority policy areas to continue our FDI success story.
Show article references#Hide article references
- IDA Ireland, 2021
- Revenue, 2021
Notwithstanding the headwinds generated by the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, impending interest rate increases and uncertainty over global tax reform, Ireland is set to retain its place among Europe’s most attractive locations for FDI.