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Some fair points, but I submit you underestimate what FDI has done for Ireland since the 1960's. I lived through that period and Ireland was a small agriculture peasant society run by a petit bourgeousie with no ambitions beyond a steady job in the business for their sons and a good marriage for their daughters. There was almost zero entrepreneurship or even basic management competency. Anyone with any ambition beyond their station as a peasant had to emigrate.

US MNCs came in and brought in high technology, marketing skills, HR, training and development which over time created a cadre of skilled Irish employees many of whom went on to start their own businesses. Combined with EU membership from 1973, this resulted in rapid economic growth which in turn managed to fund (almost) free secondary and then third level education such that Ireland now has one of the highest percentages of graduates in the workforce in the world.

We still have a long way to go and are still far too dependent on FDI for growth compared to a similar sized economy like Denmark - but the number and size of Irish owned companies is growing all the time in tandem with the foreign owned sector. Yes GDP is inflated by 40% (and this impacts on our net contribution to the EU) but otherwise it's just a number. The economy continued to grow through the pandemic and will grow by 15-20% this year even without the distorting effect of IP transfers which have probably seen their heyday in any case.

If Irish tax laws prevented a large stock of US FDI going to the UK, we may have done the EU some favours, but even the lobbyists for the sector admit the days of tax competition are numbered and the government expects to lose at least €2 Billion in corporate tax revenues when the OECD proposals are implemented. With Brexit, climate change, continuing structural inequalities and a possible united Ireland all imposing huge costs down the line we are going to have to transform our indigenous sector as well. But at least now we have many people with the skills and experience to lead the process.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Sep 10th, 2021 at 08:36:04 PM EST
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