Ireland named best country in the world for business by Forbes

Thursday 05 December 2013 19.00
Ireland last topped the Forbes list in 2006
Ireland last topped the Forbes list in 2006

Ireland has been named the best country in the world for business by influential US financial magazine Forbes.

It is the first time Ireland has topped the list since it began in 2006.

Ireland moved up from number six out of 145 countries analysed last year due to improved scores on monetary freedom and the high return from the Irish Stock Exchange Overall Index.

New Zealand, Hong Kong, Denmark and Sweden make up the top five, in that order.

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton welcomed the ranking.

Speaking from Indonesia, where he is attending the World Trade Organisation Ministerial Conference and EU Trade Council, Mr Bruton said: "Today's finding by Forbes that we are the best country in the world for business is above all a testament to the hard work and innovation of our businesses and workers.

"It is the latest in a range of indicators which shows that the environment for business here is steadily improving, and shows that the hard work and sacrifices of so many people are yielding tangible results in terms of international competitiveness and the jobs we so badly need."

Forbes makes the list by grading 11 different factors: property rights, innovation, taxes, technology, corruption, freedom (personal, trade and monetary), red tape, investor protection and stock market performance.

Ireland scored well across the board for business friendliness and very near the top for low tax burden, investor protection and personal freedom.

Forbes said that despite Ireland's recent economic problems, it remained a pro-business country that continued to attract investments from some of the world's biggest companies over the past ten years.

Ranking 'a boost for Ireland'

The ranking will provide a boost for Ireland as it prepares to exit the bailout programme next week.

IDA Ireland Chief Executive Barry O'Leary said: "This Forbes ranking will reach senior business people across the world, making them aware of all the advantages available to those that locate businesses here.

"Country rankings like this are used by companies across the world when they make initial decisions to investigate the possibility of locating their businesses internationally."

"IDA Ireland intends to use the survey results as marketing material in key markets like the US and Europe."

Minister of State Fergus O'Dowd welcomed the publication of the poll.

Mr O'Dowd said: "I think it's a testament to the hard work and the innovation of our businesses and our workers. We are very much the centre for investment and I think that the country is really, we're turning the economy around. 

"We're in the second half of the match and I think that it's very important that we have 58,000 people working today who weren't working last year."

Mark Fielding from ISME echoed his sentiments, but said that Ireland was not the best country for small businesses.

He said while there was a lot of foreign direct investment, many issues such as local charges and rates and the black market continue to affect small businesses negatively and that these businesses need support in order to survive and grow.

Meanwhile, independent TD Richard Boyd Barrett said that the Government can welcome the Forbes poll but the reality is that big businesses are profiting at the expense of ordinary workers.

Mr Boyd Barrett said: "Small businesses are crucified with rates, parking charges, no money from the bank.

"Ordinary workers have had their incomes cut by nearly 20% in the last five years.

"40,000 people are leaving the country because there's no work for them and a litany of vulnerable groups have been hit in budget after budget."