Eamonn Sinnott, a Vice President of Intel Corporation and the company's General Manager in Ireland has been appointed as the President of the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland for 2015. Speaking at a media briefing today Mr. Sinnott, emphasised the importance of US FDI to the Irish economy and set out the Chamber's views on where Ireland's focus should be in relation to the key area of maintaining and increasing US investment in Ireland.
"130,000 people are employed in over 700 US companies operating in Ireland, representing a total investment of $240 billion in the Irish economy," said Eamonn Sinnott, "Last year alone, US companies made 140 investments and created almost 11,000 new jobs, 73% of the total FDI jobs created in 2014. This included 60 American companies investing in Ireland for the very first time.
"The contribution of US FDI to the wider Irish economy is vital, US companies contribute an estimated €16bn in expenditure into the Irish economy in the form of payroll, and the purchase of goods and services. While US companies exported approximately €100 billion in goods and services from their Irish based businesses. Continued US investment into Ireland is a key contributor to the success of the Irish economy into the future."
"Internationally, the competition for this investment is fierce, and growing all the time," said Eamonn Sinnott, "and in that context, Ireland needs to be on top of its game in order to win new business. The IDA is a strong performer internationally in this regard, and is acutely aware of the areas that we need to focus on. The country's competiveness has improved over the last few years as a result of the adjustments brought about by the downturn, and the focus now must be on maintaining that competitiveness and not allowing it to slip back over time as the economy recovers."
"The key area of skills and talent will be a top priority for the American Chamber during the year ahead. This is an area where we believe we can help to improve Ireland's offering through closer collaboration with Government and local business in identifying the skills that are needed and ensuring that the right environment is place to meet the demand. This is probably the most competitive aspect in the fight to attract new investment and Ireland needs to be ‘battle ready'. A lot has been done in the recent years, not least the new focus on maths and science in our schools. We believe this needs to be accelerated if Ireland is to maintain the competitive edge, as other countries are also very focused on skills in recognition of its paramount importance in the decisions that are made in the US and elsewhere to locate investment abroad."
"Building an environment that fosters and supports research development and innovation is a key to attracting US FDI, and will support the creation of stronger local collaborations. Ireland has developed a track record over recent years of successfully delivering on R&D investments - which bring with them significant benefits to the Irish economy and society. However Ireland's R&D spend as a percentage of GDP (1.58%) currently lags many of the countries with which we compete for investment and that of the EU average (2.02%). This represents a missed opportunity and there is clearly scope for improvement. Two recent developments, announced in the budget, relating to R&D credits and the plan to introduce a Knowledge Development Box for Ireland, are both welcome. The American Chamber will be recognising exemplary Irish innovation in May with the inaugural US-Ireland Research Innovation Awards, being run in conjunction with the Royal Irish Academy."
"To support skills in Ireland the American Chamber will be running a major campaign, World of Talent @ Ireland, throughout 2015. This initiative will be aimed at attract talent to live and work in Ireland by making people abroad, particularly recent Irish emigrants, aware of the tremendous opportunities that now exist here."