Written answers

Wednesday, 31 January 2007

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

Job Creation

8:00 am

Photo of Peter KellyPeter Kelly (Longford-Roscommon, Fianna Fail)
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Question 177: To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment his views on whether Ireland can claim to be a competitive country; if recent job loss announcements will become a common feature in 2007; the number of jobs created from FDI in 2006; if jobs created outnumbered jobs lost; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2560/07]

Photo of Micheál MartinMicheál Martin (Cork South Central, Fianna Fail)
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Companies operating in Ireland are no different than companies anywhere else in the world. They operate in a market economy, are affected by international events that influence global economic activity and the employment they create here is subject to specific business and product life cycles in different sectors. Over the decades since Ireland became a location of choice for so many foreign investors jobs have been lost each year.

But what sets us apart as a competitive country is twofold. It has been our ability to create a growing and successful enterprise economy in which jobs losses are outweighed by broad based employment creation. It has also been our capacity to consistently look to the future, adapt our competitive position and maintain our world class standing as a competitive economy — one that meets the demanding investment criteria of tomorrow's industries, products and technologies and on which our future prosperity, growth and employment will be based.

Attracting mobile foreign investment is a tough challenge, particularly in the context of globalisation. Like us, the countries against whom we compete for investment continually improve and refine their competitive attractions. Nevertheless Ireland continues to be one of the most attractive locations in Europe for foreign investment. Over the years new enterprise policies are helping to reshape and reposition our economy towards one based on knowledge activities, creating new areas of competitive strength and positioning us as a leading European centre for knowledge led sectors and activities.

This is bringing new strategic advantages. In 2006, IDA Ireland won 71 new projects involving a total investment of €2.6 billion. Among its 2006 successes, investment in research and development continues to increase. For example, 54 R&D projects were supported involving investments of €470 million. This compares with corresponding investment of €140 million in 2004 and €260 million in 2005. Investment decisions of this scale are not made lightly nor are they made in favour of lowly rated, poorly performing and uncompetitive economies.

With full employment and our ambitions to be a knowledge intensive rather than a resource intensive economy, volume based growth and job numbers are somewhat less important than previously. FDI growth should now be looked more on the basis of investment and employment quality than on the volume of jobs or investment per se.

Nevertheless, despite intense competition for international investment from emerging economies, initial estimates are that 11,800 new jobs were created in our FDI sector. This more than offset 8,000 job losses leaving employment in the foreign owned sector about 3,800 higher in 2006 than a year earlier.


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