Wednesday, February 22, 2023

The latest Advance Building Solution (ABS) facility, which is nearing completion at the IDA’s Business & Technology Park in Butlerstown 

IDA Ireland justly drew satisfaction from its 2022 results given the significant increase in growth in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) employment when compared to the 2021 figures.  

There’s been a 25 per cent growth rate in the South East’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) job numbers over the past five years. Regional unemployment has dropped to 3.8 per cent, while the region’s population has risen by eight per cent.  

These figures underline that the South East is moving positively, boosted by IDA Ireland’s ongoing efforts to showcase Waterford and its neighbouring counties.  

Said IDA Ireland Interim CEO Mary Buckley: “The challenging and volatile international environment that we saw in 2021 escalated this year. In light of that, these annual results are most encouraging and show that investors’ commitment to Ireland remains strong and Ireland’s value proposition as a place to do business remains a compelling one.  

“That said, the now evident severe headwinds facing the global economy in 2023 means we will have to work harder than ever in the year ahead to win new investment. Our FDI base of companies is also subject to these headwinds. IDA will remain close to our clients at this time of uncertainty and support them as companies review their global cost base to remain competitive.”  

As of the close of 2022, across Counties Waterford, Kilkenny, Wexford and Carlow, there are 86 IDA client FDI companies. These companies provide 15,520 direct jobs and a further 12,416 indirect positions, coming to a combined tally of 27,936 posts, a three per cent increase on the previous year’s figures.  

The total FDI payroll in the region during 2o21 came to €909 million, which suggests the €1 billion mark ceiling will be shattered in the immediate term should economic fair winds continue to gust into 2024 and beyond. In 2021, the total in-house Research & Development (R&D) spend came to €119 million, with €500m invested in services and materials.  

Between now and 2024, IDA Ireland is targeting 40 investments within the South East alone. Given that 103 of last year’s 242 investments were new names to the Irish market, the likelihood of further blue-chip companies creating new regional hubs here appears particularly sunny.  

Indeed, the strong growth throughout the regions made for impressive reading last year, with 127 – 52 per cent – of all Irish investments won during 2022 going to regional locations.  

These annual results show that investors’ commitment to Ireland remains strong 

In Waterford last year, IDA-supported Horizon Therapeutics plc submitted a planning application to expand its existing development and manufacturing facility at the Business & Technology Park in Butlerstown. The planned facility would massively expand Horizon’s Waterford footprint, adding approximately 320,000 square feet to its current 44,000 square foot drug product (fill-finish) biologics facility, and would create approximately 350 jobs over time. 

“As we grow as a global biotechnology company, it is important to continue to invest in our development and manufacturing capabilities to supplement our current network of contract manufacturing organisations to maintain flexibility over our production and supply,” said Horizon President and CEO Tim Walbert 

“The planned expansion to add this drug substance facility is important to the long-term growth of our commercial and pipeline biologics, as well as our commitment to Ireland.” 

Under the IDA’s Property Programme, the regional building programme will see 19 Advanced Building Solutions (ABS) delivered in regional locations across the country between now and 2024.  

The third ABS at Butlerstown is nearing completion on a campus, which is now welcomingly at capacity. IDA Ireland will soon turn its focus to a future development on a separate Waterford landbank but securing a client for the third ABS is the immediate task facing new South East Regional Manager Brian McGee and his enthusiastic team.  

Ms Buckley added: “To remain successful in the years ahead we need to accelerate the carrying capacity of the economy with regard to housing, energy, water, planning, infrastructure and also with talent policies. Continued action at speed and scale to address these issues is essential if we are to successfully move to an internationally competitive low carbon, high tech economy. 

“Client companies remain positive about the business environment in Ireland and our attractiveness relative to key competitor locations for FDI. This is borne out by a good pipeline of investments for H1 2023. Ireland’s strengths continue to include our skilled and diverse talent base, high quality education and training ecosystem, stable and consistent policymaking, and competitive corporate tax regime.” 

Speaking prior to his re-appointment as Taoiseach, then Tánaiste and Enterprise, Trade & Employment Minister Leo Varadkar (FG) commented: “It is extremely positive to see the growth in investment outside of Dublin continue in 2022, with a good nationwide spread achieved… 

“While I am concerned about the job losses in Tech, there is a good pipeline of new investments coming from the multinationals and Irish-owned corporations in a range of sectors, including Life Sciences, Food and Beverages, Manufacturing and Aviation. We expect many positive announcements in the coming months. The economy is well diversified. Ireland continues to maintain a reputation as an excellent location for investment.”  

IDA Ireland has played a commendable role in the welcome economic growth Waterford and the South East has experienced over the past 18 months in particular. More of the same into 2023 and beyond would do very nicely indeed. 

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