Ireland has taken huge strides to address its sovereign and bank debt problems and investor confidence remains strong. 2011 saw increased levels of direct investment into Ireland with the first half of 2012 indicating similarly strong trends. Labour is more plentiful and unit costs were below the Eurozone average in 2011, lower than Luxembourg, Germany, Belgium, Holland and Austria. Commercial and residential property is more affordable with private and office rental costs back to 2003 levels.
Exports continue to perform well, increasing by 5.1% in 2011. Investment in research and development has trebled in the past decade. Adjustments in the Irish economy have led to a return to GDP growth and the Troika programme is on track to produce structural reforms. For more than 1,000 multi-nationals that have chosen Ireland as their strategic European base, Ireland’s key strengths remain:
- Tax – Ireland’s corporation tax rate of 12.5% is the among the lowest in Europe;
- R&D – Ireland’s track-record of innovation in the science and technology sectors continues;
- Talent – Ireland’s English-speaking, well-educated workforce is among the youngest in Europe with reports ranking Dublin as one of the best cities in the world for human capital; and
- Europe – Ireland’s business friendly environment is a barrier-free gateway to the wider European market of 500 million consumers.