Britain to poach US technology firms from Ireland
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Britain to poach US technology firms from Ireland

IRELAND’S long-standing relationship with the technology industry will protect the country against British plans to poach US investment.

That is according to IDA Ireland – the organisation promoting foreign direct investment.

The comments come as the British Government kick-started an initiative to entice US tech companies currently favouring Ireland’s corporation tax rate.

HQ-UK is a strategy that will see Britain attempt to lure US companies to these shores by highlighting the profitability of Britain in terms of business.

“We can provide these companies with the talent they need in all levels of their operations,” said IDA spokesperson Kevin Sammon.

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But Baroness Joanna Shields, digital advisor to the Prime Minister disagrees.

“Nowhere beats the UK as an international hub for tech companies who are looking to thrive, innovate and grow,” she said launching HQ-UK.

Ireland, which has a corporation tax rate of 12.5 per cent, is currently home a number of technological giants including Facebook, Google, Twitter and Apple, who have set up major headquarters in cities such as Dublin and Cork.

From April Britain will introduce a lower corporation tax rate of 20 per cent rate – dropping from 28 per cent - in a bid to lure companies here.

Its new 20 per cent rate will be the lowest among the G7 countries – though still higher than Ireland’s.

“New companies looking to move into the European market want to see a track record and know that there has been success in the industry here,” said IDA’s Mr Sammon. “They will look to the Googles and the Facebooks and see they’re doing well in Ireland and that encourages them to set up an Irish base.”

According to the latest statistics from the American Chamber of Commerce, more than 115,000 people in Ireland are employed by US technology companies.

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Mr Sammon believes that Ireland’s education system is a key reason the country is the perfect location for international technology companies to set up there.

Aside from a particular focus on science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) subjects in schools, third level institutions have shown themselves to be very adaptable to the technology industry.

“We see companies coming in to Ireland and meeting with third level institutions, who in turn launch new courses tailored to the needs of the industry,” he explained.

Some of the attractions that the British government’s HQ-UK will highlight include a speedy visa service and accelerated access to bank account in Britain.

While the likes of Google and Facebook have bases here, those in Ireland are seen as the main European headquarters for the companies.