|US drugs firm Merck's principal Irish plant at Ballydine, County Tipperary
The number of jobs in foreign-owned companies supported by IDA Ireland fell by over 1,200 in 2008, according to the State inward investment promotion agency.
The IDA said that while 10,000 jobs were lost - out of a total of around 136,000 - 8,837 new jobs were created.
Speaking at the launch of IDA’s End of Year Statement for 2008, IDA CEO Barry O’Leary said, ‘Ireland continued to attract significant high end Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) over the last twelve months despite the global economic crisis. 2008 saw a 14% increase in the number of investments from IDA supported FDI companies on the previous year. Despite the economic uncertainty which will have a negative impact on the Irish and global economies IDA remains guardedly optimistic of Ireland’s ability to continue attracting high level FDI in 2009 and beyond. ’
He warned that global economic turmoil made the outcome for 2009 difficult to predict, and that levels of investment made by companies across the world would decline. O'Leary said there had been a 14% increase in the number of investments from companies last year.
He continued by saying, ‘The global economic turmoil makes it difficult to predict the outcome for FDI in 2009. Global FDI will decline and almost all economic commentators are predicting an extremely difficult year in 2009. It is important to recognise that even in turbulent economic times there is still FDI to be won and our competitors will not be slow in targeting opportunities. A firm focus and a positive attitude in our ability to win FDI, by all stakeholders in Team Ireland, are key ingredients to a successful outcome’
Referring to the need for a transformation agenda in existing client companies he said, ‘For the continued success of existing operations in Ireland it is extremely important that companies have or put in place a transformation agenda to constantly move to higher value activities and increase their strategic importance within their parent company. The impact on employment as a result of a successful transformation ranges from positive to negative.’
The IDA does not provide any comparative data with competing locations.
Greenfield FDI projects in Ireland fell 22% to 114 in 2007, following a decline of 25% in 2006 to 146. Greenfield projects in Romania rose from 116 in 2003 to 366 in 2007 while in the same period, the number of Polish projects rose from 154 to 333.
The greenfield indicator is a crude one but the value ranking can give a distorted picture because of fund movements by existing multinationals in a country.
35% of IDA-backed investments last year were from non-US companies, while 60% were located outside Dublin.