Employment in IDA client companies has reached an all time high of just under 230,000 – and the majority of those jobs are located outside of Dublin.

Job creation results for 2018 published by the Industrial Development Authority also show a direct gain in employment from Brexit.

The agency says it has secured 55 investments that it directly links to Brexit, producing an estimated 4,500 jobs.

Much of the Brexit-related investment and jobs growth has been as a result of expansion at existing Irish based companies seeking to switch EU-related business activity out of the UK.

Leading names in the Brexit-related expansion include Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, Legal & General, Barclays, AXA XL, Thomson Reuters and Depository Trust and Clearing Company (DTCC).

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, IDA CEO Martin Shanahan said he believes all investment decisions are being made against the backdrop of Brexit.

Employment Growth in IDA firms last year averaged 7%, compared with a national average of 3%.

This highest rate of jobs growth in IDA firms came in the Midlands region, which grew by 14%. The lowest rate of jobs growth was in the Border region, which grew by 3%.

Employment in the West grew by 8%, while the South East and Dublin both grew employment by 7%.

Total employment in the sector now stands at 229,057, with Dublin accounting for 96,760 of these jobs.

2019 sees the IDA marking its 70th anniversary. The agency claims about two thirds of the Corporation Tax paid in the State comes from IDA client companies. Their employees also pay about one third of the income tax, USC and PRSI raised in the State, as wages in the multinational sector tend to be significantly higher than in locally owned firms - €66,000 average for multinational companies, €46,402 for the national average.

The spend in the Irish economy from multinationals comprises of €11.7 billion in payroll, €7.5 billion in materials purchased, and capital spending on new buildings, machinery and equipment of €5.7 billion.

Regional Strategy

Since the recession there has been a renewed emphasis by the IDA on regional development and spreading inward investment around the country as much as possible. A five year plan, started four years ago, called the ‘Winning’ Strategy, has so far produced 407 Investments (out of a five year target of 475) for the regions and almost 27,000 net jobs have been added on the ground in locations outside Dublin.

To put that in context, an average of 102 investments were won annually by locations beyond Dublin, compared to an annual average of 69 under the previous strategy.

The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphries said "I particularly welcome the gains made in deepening and growing investment outside of Ireland’s main cities, with the largest regional employment growth achieved in 17 years".

But in today’s report the IDA also reminds policy makers that Dublin remains a key region for Ireland's overall FDI strategy, and it needs to be kept attractive amidst growing international competition for what appears to be a stagnating amount of foreign investment.

Mr Shanahan said: "A strong capital city and strong regions are required to win investment. As IDA has said many times, continued investment in regional Ireland is essential. Our regions are in competition to win investment with the rest of the world, not with Dublin".

Outlook

Looking to the coming year, The IDA chief executive said "While today’s figures are showing strong gains, there are many significant risks facing us in the future. Ireland is a small open trading economy and increased nationalism and protectionism is likely to have an impact on future FDI figures.

"10 years on from the financial crisis, the global economy continues to grow at a steady pace but the OECD says global GDP growth has peaked and is slowing on the back of weaker trade growth and less supportive monetary and fiscal policies.

"According to FDI Intelligence, global greenfield investment projects fell 1.1% in 2017, while at the same time investment into Ireland continued to grow. Ireland wins a much larger market share of European FDI than expected for its size. Ireland’s share of all FDI projects to the EU in 2017 was 5.4%, while Ireland’s share of EU GDP was just 1.9%.

"As we said last year, maintaining the competitiveness of the Irish economy remains absolutely essential. Issues that our clients are raising and that the National Competitiveness Council has also identified include: residential housing – availability and cost; skills; infrastructure investment; investment in the education sector and income tax levels at the higher marginal rate.

"Planned responses and initiatives already undertaken by Government in response to these issues and successful delivery of Project Ireland 2040 will assist in convincing investors of Ireland's continued commitment to maintaining competitiveness.

"Ireland must also prepare for a scenario where technology - Artificial Intelligence, machine learning and robotics - play an increased part in our working lives."