Shanahan, who is leaving IDA, says supplying energy to industry is key to job growth

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IDA CEO Martin Shanahan is due to leave the agency in early 2023. The planned exit was announced during the agency’s half-year results on Wednesday.

DA Chairman Frank Ryan has paid tribute to Mr Shannon and the agency has confirmed that an international search for a new leader will now begin.

“During Martin’s tenure since his appointment in 2014, the number of multinational operations in Ireland has increased from 1,098 to 1,691 and the number of direct jobs within the IDA client portfolio has increased from 161,112 to 275,384 (an increase by 71%) and the economic contribution of FDI in Ireland has increased significantly,” said Frank Ryan.

Martin Shanahan took up his current role in 2014 and previously headed Forfás, the National Policy Advisory Council for Business, Commerce, Science, Technology and Innovation, after joining public service from the private sector in 1999.

The departure was announced as IDA published its half-year results The government agency reported a record half-year period, but Mr Shanahan said the economic outlook for the rest of the year ahead was “volatile, uncertain, complex and highly ambiguous”.

FDI investment in the first half of 2022 is up 9% from 2021 and 10% from 2019 pre-pandemic levels. Job approvals are also up 44% from 2021 figures and are a third higher than pre-pandemic levels.

IDA has unveiled 155 investments so far this year that are expected to create 18,000 jobs. This is an increase from 12,530 in 2021. 73 of those announced so far this year were for areas outside Dublin.

In the company’s annual report, the IDA said that FDI contributed 72% of export sales to the Irish economy, as well as 70% of corporation tax. The IDA says it expects corporation tax to remain at current levels for the foreseeable future.

The government agency also pointed out that direct expenditure on wages, materials and services from investments amounted to 27.9 billion euros in 2021.

Mr Shanahan said that despite the strong investment pipeline in the second half of the year, the global economic outlook is now more uncertain than it was at the start of the pandemic.

He noted that global FDI levels appear to have “stalled” so far this year after a strong recovery in 2021 with rising inflation. Other issues likely to reduce FDI activity include Covid, Brexit, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and international tax changes, according to Shanahan.

Mr. Shanahan said that the main areas that need attention in Ireland are planning around energy and housing.

“Security of supply, availability and production of electricity” is of particular concern for international technology companies, as well as data center operators.

Mr Shanahan said that while international companies investing in Ireland were “extremely aware” of the housing problems that exist in the country, that did not prevent investment. He added that international companies are currently facing the same price and supply issues in different markets.

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