Opinion /

Why Ireland attracts US multinational companies

The US multinational sector is vital to the Irish economy and the relationship on both sides of the Atlantic is rooted in a deep heritage. US organisations are attracted to doing business in Ireland for a variety of reasons. These include access to the EU market, a stable political environment, the availability of a highly educated talent pool, a favourable taxation policy and quality of life. There are approximately 1,700 multinationals currently located here across all IDA client companies.  

Strength of the relationship 

The deep relationship between the US and Ireland is not confined to business circles. During his inauguration in 2021, US President, Joe Biden made references to his own Irish heritage and the Irish American experience, demonstrating the close links we have with the US. 

The recently appointed US Ambassador to Ireland, Claire Cronin’s grandfather was a Donegal native who emigrated to the US. During her testimony before the US Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee, she said, “The Irish first arrived on our shores before the founding of our nation. Their significant contributions, sacrifice, and hard work helped define the American spirit and shaped our success today. Over 30 million Americans claim Irish heritage.  The historical, cultural, and economic ties between the United States and Ireland are undeniable and will forever unite our countries.”

Synergy between US and Ireland

The Irish-US connection is strengthened by robust government support through the IDA and Enterprise Ireland, and bodies like the American Chamber. This representation not only opens doors, but also facilitates greater communication between our two countries.

People are at the heart of every US multinational in Ireland. As there are over 275,000 people currently working for multinationals in Ireland, the impact of their activity is significant. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, employment in IDA-supported companies grew by 16,826 from 2020 to 2021, demonstrating the ongoing growth potential of the multinational sector here.

Global leadership

Senior leadership teams in US multinationals are leading the conversation when it comes to societal challenges, such as Environmental, Social, and (Corporate) Governance (ESG), Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DE&I), climate change, and the Covid-19 pandemic. They are leading by example and integrating these initiatives into their communication strategies. Their actions marry with their words, and they are working to counteract inequalities in society at large, while ensuring the communities in which they operate are fit for purpose for their teams and neighbours in Ireland and beyond.

Contribution of US multinationals in Ireland during the pandemic

During the pandemic, the US multinational sector continued to operate here successfully, manufacturing life-saving medicines and medical devices for the global market. This sector is hugely valuable to the Irish economy and its importance was clear to see during a time of huge change and uncertainty during the pandemic.

Pre-March 2020, international business travel was a regular part of many senior leaders’ lives. I know many senior executives who were travelling internationally up to 40 times per year before the pandemic. That came to halt due to the pandemic, yet strong links with key stakeholders, be they business partners or international colleagues, remained intact throughout the pandemic reflecting the solid foundations on which they are built. 

The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in many organisations needing to review their communication strategies and ways of working. The move to virtual meetings and hybrid working models introduced new ways of communicating. In some ways, greater connectedness has been achieved as technologies like Zoom and Microsoft Teams have made global communication possible, irrespective of where we are located in the world, further strengthening the links between the US and Ireland.

Post-pandemic landscape

The US multinational sector has a hugely positive influence on the Irish economy. In 2021, Ireland reported a record €68.4 billion tax intake, which represented a year on year increase of nearly 20%. This was largely due to the exceptional performance of multinationals and the resulting record corporation tax income of €15.3 billion. Out of every €4.50 in tax collected, €1 came from multinational corporations. The impact of the multinational sector on the Irish economy continues to grow year on year. As Ireland emerges from the pandemic, it does so with the expectation of a bright economic future, thanks, in no small part, to the continued support of US multinationals who choose to call this country home.

Following the Government’s recent decision to unwind COVID-19 restrictions, economic predictions bode well and the Irish economy is, once again, on an upward trajectory. There’s no doubt that the US multinational sector will continue to play a huge part in our post pandemic economic success. 

This article featured in the Irish Examiner special report on US Business in Ireland, February 11th 2022.

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