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These regions were the winners and losers for multinational investment last year

The IDA has admitted it is still falling well short of its regional development target.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny opens Google's new Dublin digital innovation centre in 2013 Source: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

Updated at 4.27pm

THOUSANDS OF EXTRA jobs were created across Ireland last year through foreign direct investment, but some parts of the country missed out on the bulk of the development.

The IDA, the semi-state agency charged with attracting multinationals to the country, today admitted it was still falling well short of its target that half of all new investment would flow to regional areas.

Only 37% of all investments from its client companies in 2014 were outside Dublin and Cork, although that percentage was up from 30% the previous year.

Over the 12-month period, 15,012 jobs in IDA-backed companies were created and 7,881 were lost – a net gain of 7,131 positions across the country last year.

The biggest job increases were in Dublin and the southwest region, which includes Cork, while the smallest were in the northeast and northwest border counties, and the midlands – the region with the lowest total number of jobs from foreign investment.

This is where the biggest winners and losers through the IDA’s work have been:

IDA Source: IDA

TheJournal.ie previously reported that one county, Longford, had zero IDA-sponsored visits between 2009 and September 2014 out of the 2025 missions carried out elsewhere in the country over that period.

But the agency said the number of visits was in “no way indicative” of its efforts to market any region to foreign investors.

Regional goal not impossible

IDA chief executive Martin Shanahan today said the target of 50% investment for the regions was “ambitious” – but not impossible.

“There is continuing growth in the trend of (multinational) companies locating in large urban areas of scale so, in essence, we’re trying to buck the trend,” he said.

IDA Jobs Minister Richard Bruton and IDA chief executive Martin Shanahan Source: Maxwell Photography

Shanahan said the IDA had also been targeting emerging tech companies which usually wanted to be near other similar firms in major cities.

Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said multinationals accounted for nearly 10% of jobs for the Irish workforce and the companies were of crucial importance to the economy because of the quality of the work involved and the knock-on effect for the country.

The IDA said the multinationals it supported now employed some 174,488 people in Ireland – the highest figure in the organisation’s 55-year history – against a “a particularly challenging European economic environment and changing corporate taxation landscape”.

There were 197 foreign investments last year, up 20% on the 2013 figure, with the companies including online shopping giant Amazon, LinkedIn, AirBnb, PayPal and Johnson & Johnson.

BUS DSK IDA IRL JOBS CREATED MX-7 Bruton and Shanahan Source: Maxwell Photography

‘Cautiously optimistic’ for 2015

Shanahan said – based on the agency’s immediate pipeline for the first quarter of the year – he was confident about the incoming flow of investment for 2015.

“In relation to the remainder of the year we are cautiously optimistic,” he said.

Ireland is in a good position to win significant business across a range of sectors. However all business is hard-won and we need to be vigilant and avoid complacency, particularly in the area of cost competitiveness.”

The IDA has welcomed the government’s latest tax moves – including the development of a “knowledge-development box” to offer companies an incentive to develop new products in Ireland.

That plan, believed to involve offering firms a 50% discount on tax for their intellectual-property income, still has to clear the hurdle of the European Commission, which has been investigating similar schemes already running in the UK and Germany.

READ: You paid more tax than expected last year on everything – except local property tax >

READ: Sell online to the EU? You could have a lot more paperwork from today >

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About the author:

Peter Bodkin  / Editor, Fora

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