American Chamber President urges Cork business community to position for future FDI investment
Issued Friday, 28 September 2018.
Leader of the Opposition, Micheál Martin, T.D., was guest of honour today at the annual American Chamber of Commerce Ireland (AmCham) Cork Business Lunch, in the Maryborough Hotel, Douglas.
Leader of Fianna Fáil, Micheál Martin said
“The American Chamber of Commerce has always distinguished itself for taking a long-term view in terms of their policy priorities. They always emphasise policies which make sure that Ireland not only attracts investment but retains it for many years. Strong companies which can compete internationally provide good jobs and which are good corporate citizens is the mark of this Chamber’s work.
A dynamic international sector is one of the key pillars of Ireland’s success in the past – but it will be just as important in the future. I can assure you that I and my party will continue to strongly advocate a balanced industrial policy which sees domestically-focused and internationally trading firms as essential components of sustainable progress.
By any objective measure this is a deeply challenging moment not just for Ireland but also for Europe and the wider world. While there has been a strong economic recovery from the great recession there enormous economic threats and these are accompanied by a dramatic political turmoil which is challenging the fundamental principles of liberal democracy and international cooperation. We all need to work together to ensure that the progress made so far between our two great countries continues”.
Welcoming over 350 guests from US multinationals and other leading Cork businesses to the event, Barry O’Sullivan, AmCham President, said
“Cork’s business relationship with the US continues to thrive. There are now more than 32,000 people working at over 150 multinational companies across a range of sectors from med-tech, to pharma, gaming and cyber-security. Pfizer celebrates its 45th anniversary here this year. Since then, the region has become home to 7 out of 10 of the world’s top ten pharma companies. In addition, Bio Marin announced an investment of €37m in Shanabally just a few weeks ago.
He added that Cork is growing its capacity for investment:
“From the port, to the amount of commercial development underway, this region is clearly open for business and ready to capture future waves of FDI.”
However, Barry O’Sullivan warned against complacency, saying:
“We have never seen the competition for US business investment from other regions of the world as intense as it is today.
It is essential that we constantly benchmark our competitiveness against the countries that currently compete with us; our international competitiveness ranking and our falling global university rankings need serious attention.
Uncertain timescales and delays in planning decisions for key projects do us no favours.
From solving the Housing Crisis to roll out of our National Broadband Plan, these are all things largely within our control - getting things done is supposed to be part and parcel of our global reputation.”
“Our physical and digital capacity, our broadband still needs significant improvements if we are to enable further growth,” said Barry O’Sullivan, “In particular for the South and mid-west region, we are advocating for:
- The Dunkettle InterChange which all going as expected, will be completed by 2021
- Upgrading the N28 route to Ringaskiddy, an essential piece of infrastructure for our member companies.
- The upgraded M20 Cork-Limerick route which is critical to connect and unlock further economic activity across the South and Mid-West regions between Cork and Limerick
Speed is our friend – if the generations that came before us could deliver Ardnacrusha and rural electrification with a fraction of the resources and talent that we have at our disposal today - surely, surely, we can execute the critical infrastructure that we need to future proof our economy and society for the generations that will succeed us.”
Barry O’Sullivan also emphasised the crucial importance of Ireland continuing to produce top level talent, saying “We need faster change in the education system to reflect the changes we are seeing in our working lives arising from the pace of advancement of technology. That includes key areas such as STEAM – the fusion of STEM with the creative arts, languages and lifelong learning.”
Michael Jackson. Managing Partner, Matheson said:
"As the law firm of choice for internationally focused companies and financial institutions doing business in and from Ireland, Matheson is delighted to work with the American Chamber of Commerce Ireland and to support the Chamber’s Annual Cork Business Lunch. We act for over 60% of FDI member companies of the American Chamber of Commerce located in Cork. With the recent opening of the firm’s Cork office, our clients in the region will have access to an experienced Matheson team in Cork, and will also be able to avail of the full suite of legal services and expertise of Matheson’s Dublin, London, New York, Palo Alto and San Francisco offices.
At Matheson, we believe that factors such as the talent pool, Brexit, the continually improving infrastructure and a desire by many companies to have multiple sites in Ireland will continue to make Cork an attractive place in which to locate and will contribute to its growth trajectory. Our decision to establish an office in Cork gives us the capability to increase our service to existing and prospective clients and we look forward to working with the broader Cork business community to continue to drive future success in the region.
We echo the sentiments of AmCham President Barry O’Sullivan about the importance of delivering speedily on commitments to investment and infrastructure to ensure that our international competitiveness remains strong and that all regions in Ireland can benefit from the opportunities arising in the current climate."