The availability of housing is a constraint in foreign companies' decisions to invest in Ireland, according to IDA CEO, Martin Shanahan.

"It is definitely a constraint - there is no question." Mr Shanahan said at a Shannon Chamber of Commerce lunch at Dromoland Castle. "Investors are keenly aware of the housing market in Ireland both in urban locations and indeed outside urban locations".

He said he didn't think it was a huge constraint yet because investors can also look at the data and look at the plans that are envisaged by Government in terms of increasing housing supply.

Mr Shanahan said that infrastructure, including the availability of energy, remains critical in terms of attracting investment "and from my perspective those issues which are likely to cause us most challenges are around infrastructure".

Mr Shanahan said that rather than Ireland losing foreign direct investment (FDI), it has seen an increase in FDI since the Government's decision to step into OECD framework on tax.

He said the framework "has given us a new level of stability" and a new rate of 15% going forward for those companies having revenues over €750 million.

"I said at the time that I did not believe that it would not have an impact on the flow of investment and I can tell you absolutely at this point that it has had no impact at all and we have seen a reverse in fact - that we have seen an increase of investment in recent months and last year."

Mr Shanahan said that the outlook for FDI is "reasonable", and the strong flow of FDI from last year has continued into this year.

He said that when announcing the IDA mid-year results with Tanaiste, Leo Varadkar in the coming weeks, "I expect to be announcing fairly positive figures for the first half of the year and the outlook for the second half looks reasonably positive as well".

Mr Shanahan said that FDI has continued to perform in this economy to an extraordinary degree, remarking that "FDI did not miss a beat during the pandemic".

"We ranked 7th of Europe for announced projects last year and for a country of our size that is an astonishingly good performance."

Mr Shanahan said that the 1,700 FDI companies here "represent a core national asset".

He said that talent availability is the number one consideration for companies deciding to invest here.

He said that it is "one of the reasons that we are winning investment because Ireland looks a little better than other countries, because we are so open and welcoming and it is easier frankly to get work permits and visas for Ireland than other locations".