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I was having similar reservations as Mig, so thanks to him for raising them 🙂

I understand that industrial FDI from big US businesses in the then mostly rural Ireland, has helped creating a professional class that is needed to run these industries (I have very competent colleagues in my employer's Irish branch). EC membership in 1973 was crucial in that respect since it was what triggered these FDI: Ireland was no longer the Irish market only, but an entryway to the whole EU market, particularly after 1992.

You are right to point out that over-reliance on foreign MNC can only get Ireland thus far, especially when it is increasingly difficult for the average citizens to feel the benefits of this outsized GDP figures; moving out of that model will be a slow process.

by Bernard on Fri Sep 10th, 2021 at 09:24:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think we have to distinguish between Brass plate operations in the Irish Financial Services centre and companies with very substantial operations and thousands of employees in Ireland. Some of the latter may engage in financial engineering as well (Apple, Microsoft) but they all bring a level of technology we could only have dreamed of before (Intel, Google, Pfizer, Merck, Boston Scientific etc.). The brass plate operations are pretty close to indefensible and only cause Ireland reputational damage (and increase our net contribution to the EU through inflated GDP figures) and we would be well rid of them.

Of the fifty top companies in Ireland, 22 are Irish, 25 are USA, and three have their main operational base in the UK. None are from the rest of the EU. Either EU companies do not do aggressive tax planning, or they do not see any compelling reason to locate a large part of their operations in a small market on the edge of the EU which has significant cost disadvantages due to the cost of shipping or transporting goods to the main EU markets. It is our peripheral location and lack of economies of scale which are always going to make Ireland as an investment location a hard sell in the absence of any tax incentive.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Sep 10th, 2021 at 10:09:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Modern telecommunications means everyplace is as good as every other place when it comes to value-added services.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre
by ATinNM on Sun Sep 12th, 2021 at 03:55:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is a reason why all the US companies locating here engage primarily in ICT services, or very high value/weight products such as microchips or pharmaceuticals because the cost of transport is then negligible as a % of total value.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Mon Sep 13th, 2021 at 04:27:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you were to take the GDP/capita figures, Ireland is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. In reality, if you look at disposable income and cost of living figures, we are pretty close to the EU average. But that is a huge improvement on where we were pre-EU.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Sep 10th, 2021 at 10:12:02 PM EST
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