Foreign Direct Investment in Ireland

Overview by

FDI in Figures

After Sweden, Ireland is the second most attractive country in terms of FDI per European Union capita. The structure of FDI has undergone through a transformation, the low value-added activities have been reduced to the profit of  R & D and upscale services (engineering, information and communications technologies, pharmaceutical products, medical technology).  After having obtained a strong backward flow in 2008 under the effects of the global recession, the FDI picked up again but it still remains weak.  Some  of the appealing assets of the country are an attractive fiscal and legal frame, a high-skilled and multi-cultural work force and a strong relationship with the United States.  However, the country's appeal has been strongly deteriorated by the international crisis and the country has to affront a declining competitiveness.


Country Comparison For the Protection of Investors

  Ireland OECD United States Germany
Index of Transaction Transparency* 10.0 6.0 7.0 5.0
Index of Manager’s Responsibility** 6.0 5.2 9.0 5.0
Index of Shareholders’ Power*** 9.0 6.8 9.0 5.0
Index of Investor Protection**** 8.3 6.0 8.3 5.0

Source: Doing Business

Note: *The Greater the Index, the More Transparent the Conditions of Transactions. **The Greater the Index, the More the Manager is Personally Responsible. *** The Greater the Index, the Easier it Will Be For Shareholders to Take Legal Action. **** The Greater the Index, the Higher the Level of Investor Protection.

Foreign Direct Investment 2007 2008 2009
FDI Inward Flow (million USD) 24,707 -20,030 24,971
FDI Stock (million USD) 203,683 168,332 193,302
Performance Index*, Ranking on 141 Economies 29 141 11
Potential Index**, Ranking on 141 Economies 17 20 -
Number of Greenfield Investments*** 116 183 176
FDI Inwards (in % of GFCF****) 36.0 -34.8 7.1
FDI Stock (in % of GDP) 78.1 61.9 85.1

Source: UNCTAD

Note: * The UNCTAD Inward FDI Performance Index is Based on a Ratio of the Country's Share in Global FDI Inflows and its Share in Global GDP. ** The UNCTAD Inward FDI Potential Index is Based on 12 Economic and Structural Variables Such as GDP, Foreign Trade, FDI, Infrastructures, Energy Use, R&D, Education, Country Risk. *** Green Field Investments Are a Form of Foreign Direct Investment Where a Parent Company Starts a New Venture in a Foreign Country By Constructing New Operational Facilities From the Ground Up. **** Gross Fixed Capital Formation (GFCF) Measures the Value of Additions to Fixed Assets Purchased By Business, Government and Households Less Disposals of Fixed Assets Sold Off or Scrapped.

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Why You Should Choose to Invest in Ireland

Strong Points
Ireland's strong points are:
- A strong and thick industrial and tertiary fabric;
- The lowest corporation tax rate in Europe;
- A young and skilled workforce;
- A competitive economy; and
- Developed infrastructures.
Weak Points
Ireland's weak points are:
- A limited domestic market;
- Growing labor costs.
Government Measures to Motivate or Restrict FDI
For years, the Irish Government actively promoted foreign direct investment (FDI). Ireland provided an attractive taxation framework to foreign investors, by having one of the lowest taxation rates in the European Union. This strategy has fueled a robust economic growth since the late 1990s.
More recently, the Government has focused on Ireland’s international competitiveness by encouraging companies with foreign investments to increase their research and development (R&D) activities and to provide goods and services with higher added value. Nevertheless, the crisis has considerably impacted the country's appeal in terms of FDI. In effect, investors fear long term vulnerability of the Irish economy and a worsening of the unemployment level.

Several state organizations promote investment inflow:
- The Industrial Development Authority of Ireland (IDA);
- Enterprise Ireland;
- Udaras na Gaeltachta.

Bilateral Investment Conventions Signed By Ireland
More informations on

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Procedures Relative to Foreign Investment

Freedom of Establishment
Acquisition of Holdings
Authorized, except for some sectors of activity.
Obligation to Declare
Please consult the Industrial Development Agency of Ireland (IDA) website.
Competent Organization For the Declaration
Requests For Specific Authorizations
Potential investors are also required to examine the environmental impact of the proposed project and to meet with Irish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) officials.
Find Investment Service Providers in Ireland on

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Investment Opportunities

Investment Aid Agency
Arthur Cox (corporate and business law, expertise in mergers, acquisitions and corporate finance).
Tenders, Projects and Public Procurement
Etenders, Irish Public Tenders
Tenders Info, Tenders in Ireland
Ted - Tenders Electronic daily, Business opportunities in EU 27
Other Useful Resources
Industrial Development Agency of Ireland
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Northern Ireland

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