A half-year report on inward investment published by the IDA has been described as “very encouraging” by Clare Fine Gael TD and Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market & Data Protection Pat Breen.

According to Minister Breen the results show that the largest jobs announcements during the first six months of 2017 were in Clare, Limerick, Dublin, Carlow and Cork. Welcoming these major announcements, Minister Breen said it is also worth noting that many other IDA supported companies in Shannon, Ennis and throughout the Mid West are steadily increasing their employee numbers.

Investments approved by the IDA from January–June 2017 will lead to the creation of over 11,000 jobs as companies roll out their plans over the coming months and years. Already this year Ireland has won 114 projects, while the investment figure is on a par with last year, the job content of the investments is higher due to some significant large scale investments.

Commenting on progress to date Minister Breen said, “In all the IDA has reported a very strong first half for 2017 with investments that will lead to the creation of over 11,000 jobs, despite global investor uncertainty. It is also reassuring that a survey of IDA clients shows that 72% plan to increase their staff over the next 18 months, while 93% rank growth prospects for their Irish companies from good to excellent.  In total 76% of IDA clients are trying to expand the mandate of their Irish operation,” he added.

Minister Breen believes these positive results are an indication of how important Ireland’s stable economic and political environment has become for investors. In that regard he insists, “we must work hard to maintain that stability.”

Given that Brexit and the new US administration have impacted on how investors think, Minister Breen said Ireland must remain as competitive as possible in order to continue to achieve and grow on these results. He added, “While Brexit is presenting many challenges for the Irish economy it is also providing some opportunities.  With this in mind, the IDA is not only in discussions with potential investors particularly in the Financial Services sector, it has also identified other sectors which are now beginning to formulate plans based on the UK’s decision to leave the EU.

“These results show just how important Ireland’s stable economic and political environment are for foreign investment. I am pleased therefore that the Department of Enterprise and Innovation has provided more resources to the IDA, and I look forward to continuing working with the agency,” said Minister Breen.

Japan trade deal

Minister Breen has also welcomed the new EU trade deal with Japan which he said will bring great benefits to Ireland.  “I am very pleased that political agreement has been achieved on the landmark free trade agreement negotiations with Japan,  the third largest economy in the world. This important trade agreement will open up exciting opportunities for Irish exporters and companies across a wide range of sectors, helping them to tap into Japan’s large market.”

He pointed out that agri-food, Ireland’s largest indigenous industry, will see particular benefits from the agreement, with new access for dairy products in particular beef and cheddar cheese industries. The progress achieved will also ensure the elimination of trade tariffs on medical devices and pharmaceutical products which is very good news for Irish industry.

Minister Breen has hailed the announcement by the EU and Japan of the world’s largest trade deal as underlining Europe’s leadership in setting global trade rules.