The former chairman of Intel has warned that Ireland must prioritise investment in education, research and development if it is to succeed in the twenty-first century.

Craig Barrett said that if that meant raising university fees to keep a stream of investment in education at universities, he would hold that among his topmost priorities.

Mr Barrett has been accompanying a delegation of venture capitalists and technology experts from Silicon Valley in the US who are meeting Irish start up companies with a view to building links between them and helping them grow.

He said that it would be a real challenge to persuade Intel to locate in Ireland today, compared to 20 years ago when the company first set up here.

At that time, Mr Barrett said Ireland was a very attractive place, with a very good education system education many engineers.

It had also lowered its corporation tax rate to incentivise companies to come here.

However, he said that today Ireland was still somewhat attractive, but not nearly as attractive as it was 20 years ago.

He said the attractiveness of the low corporation tax rate had diminished somewhat, because some countries were now offering tax holidays, or even 0% corporation tax rates.

He also said Ireland's educational advantage had diminished because countries like India and China are educating hundreds of thousands of engineers.

Mr Barrett also highlighted the increased cost of doing business in Ireland.

He said the future for Ireland lay not in attracting wealth through foreign direct investment, but by creating its wealth through utilising its education research and people to create new businesses and products.

He said the focus had to be on education, research and development, as well as creating a positive environment for doing business - addressing issues like tax and intellectual property protection.