Poll: Do you think Ireland is overly dependent on foreign investment for jobs?

Some say the country’s track record with overseas firms is ‘enviable’.

By Conor McMahon Deputy editor, Fora

IRELAND CAN’T RELY on foreign direct investment forever – the country needs to have “a new generation of entrepreneurs coming through”.

So says Ben Hurley of startup accelerator NRDC, who told Fora last week that it is high time for Ireland to stop depending on overseas businesses to deliver jobs.

“We have been largely driven by FDI,” he said. “As a country with an innate entrepreneurial spirit, we need to figure out how we make it possible for more … entrepreneurs to start scalable stuff at early stages.”

That said, FDI has been “an important contributor to Ireland’s economic performance over the past several decades”, according to IDA Ireland – the government agency tasked with attracting inward investment here.

Ireland’s reputation for attracting foreign investment is “enviable”, it said.

The body noted in its 2015-2019 strategy that overseas investment played an important role in the economy throughout the worst years of recession providing critical support to GDP, employment and government revenue.

Recently, IDA announced that total employment at overseas companies now stands at nearly 200,000, with more than 18,600 jobs created alone in 2016.

With that in mind, we’re asking Fora readers this week: Do you think Ireland is overly dependent on foreign investment for jobs?