THE Irish government must nurture its technology industry if it is to protect its assets against Britain.
That is according to Fianna Fáil spokesperson Deputy Michael McGrath, who made the comments as the British government announced a new initiative to target US technology firms, who have set up major bases on Irish shores.
HQ UK is the new British initiative which aims to get more US technology companies to set up headquarters on these shores.
Ireland has traditionally been the European hub for tech giants including Facebook, Google, Twitter and LinkedIn, which have all well-established major practices in Dublin.
“It is no surprise that the British government is targeting the type of IT investment that Ireland has successfully attracted and the Irish government needs to be very vigilant to developments in that regard,” said Deputy McGrath.
Ireland’s more favourable corporation tax rate has been cited as the main reason for international technology companies to set up bases in Ireland – Britain is set to lower its corporation tax rate in April to 20 per cent – the lowest in the G7 countries.
However, at 12.5 per cent, Ireland’s rate is still much more favourable to international businesses.
But Deputy McGrath believes there are more reasons behind this move.
“The tax regime will never be the sole reason for firms locating here,” he said. “It is important for Ireland to build on its strengths in terms of market access, skilled labour and a stable regulatory environment to ensure we retain our current position as an IT hub.”
Speaking to The Irish Post, Kevin Sammon from the IDA echoed Deputy McGrath’s sentiments.
“There is a high focus on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects in both schools and universities in Ireland,” he said. “Our young workforce is capable, highly adaptable, mobile and very committed to achievement.”