DUBLIN Jan 7 The Irish government's investment
agency said on Monday that job losses at multinational companies
were the lowest for a decade and predicted a return to
pre-crisis peak levels of employment by such firms this year.
Multinationals, whose employees account for almost 10
percent of Ireland's workforce, have partly offset large-scale
job losses across Ireland's struggling domestic economy in
recent years and have helped keep export activity buoyant.
The Industrial Development Agency (IDA) said a net 6,570
jobs were created by firms such as Apple and eBay's
Paypal in 2012, the third consecutive year of
employment growth, and it predicts a similar increase this year.
That would see the almost-153,000 people employed in the
sector rise above the 156,000 working in global firms before
Ireland's economic crash in 2008, although the IDA said there
were risks to its forecast, notably from the euro zone debt
"Key global markets are slowing down, particularly in
Europe, which is a key focus for IDA's existing and potential
clients," Chief Executive Barry O'Leary told a news conference
as he presented the IDA's end of year review.
"However there are definite opportunities for growth in the
IT/technology sector, in specific areas of financial services,
in life sciences, in social/digital media and in sectors where
consolidation is taking place on a pan-European basis."
O'Leary, whose agency is responsible for wooing foreign
direct investment to the country, said there were a large number
of projects in the pipeline for this year.
Ireland's ultra-low 12.5 percent corporate tax rate remains
a key draw for companies and he added that countries keen to
attract foreign companies, such as the UK, the Netherlands and
Switzerland, will pose increased competition in a strained
With unemployment stuck close to 15 percent for over two
years, the IDA's positive outlook, together with data last week
that showed a slight fall in December jobless figures, add to
tentative signs that Ireland's economy may be slowly on the