IDA 2014 Performance highlights need to tackle regional imbalances & Cost Challenges – Calleary

– Only 37% of investments locate outside two main cities
– Job losses in IDA companies account for 52% of new jobs created-government must wake up to competitiveness challenge
– Competitive tax regime, cost base and infrastructure key to attracting inward investment

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Dara Calleary has welcomed end of year data from IDA Ireland indicating that the number of people employed in the firms it supports has reached an all-time high but warned of the need for competitiveness, vigilance and the need for regional balance.

Deputy Calleary commented: “IDA Ireland has consistently excelled at attracting and retaining major international firms in the Irish market. It is to the immense credit of IDA Ireland staff that they have done this through difficult economic times internationally.

“While acknowledging this, we also need to pay close attention to the distribution of IDA supported jobs throughout the country. There has been a trend over recent years for some of the largest investment to be concentrated in the two largest cities – indeed only 37% of the 2014 investments were outside of Dublin and Cork. To counter this we need to ensure that regional infrastructure is brought up to a level which will attract a much greater level of overseas investment, that appropriate property solutions are in place and that the IDA actively encourage firms to look at locations throughout the country. We will pay a heavy economic and social cost in years to come if regional imbalances are not addressed.

“The report also brings in to focus the need for Ireland to maintain and improve competitiveness. The level of job losses at IDA companies remains high in spite of the economic growth figures. 7,881 jobs were lost in IDA companies in 2014, representing 52% of the total of new jobs created.  Ireland remains a high cost location for a number of key business inputs.  Electricity, gas and waste disposal charges are out of line with other European countries and there are persistent concerns over the quality of telecommunications services.  The government itself is a key instigator of high costs across a number of sectors.  This directly impacts on the ability of firms to create employment.  This has been pointed out by the National Competitiveness Council but the government has done nothing to tackle this issue.

“We also need to ensure that our tax regime is competitive. Our corporation tax regime has been under sustained attack in recent times.  We must continue to emphasise that our tax rules are set out clearly in legislation and the rules are applied fairly to all companies regardless of size.  Other EU countries not subject to as close scrutiny as we face do not have the same level of transparency.  It will come as no surprise that there are many in other European countries who would like to puncture a hole in Ireland’s corporation tax offering.  We need to be more proactive and make the case definitively for retaining autonomy to set our own corporation tax rate.”