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Ireland’s offering to US multinationals remains one of the strongest in the world - Research Finding

DATE: 23.05.2011

Competitive Tax Regime, English speaking and ease of access are most attractive attributes 

Key Findings of The Matheson FDI Index:

  • The most positive attributes identified as important by US corporations considering Ireland as a location for FDI: competitive tax regime (29%), English speaking (21%), ease of access from North America (18%), Government incentives (17%), skilled workforce (17%)
  • The negative attributes identified by US corporations considering Ireland as a location for FDI: national financial instability (20%), inefficient Government (17%), instability in Euro zone (15%), remote location and restricted access (9%)
  • When compared with other European, Asian, Middle Eastern and African countries, Ireland scored the best when it came to corporate tax rates, corporate tax regime, interest rates, government incentives, physical infrastructure and IT environment and access to a pool of local skilled labour at appropriate levels.

Sunday 22nd May 2011 - Coinciding with President Obama’s visit, research launched today by Matheson, Ireland’s largest law firm, reveals that US sentiment towards Ireland as a place to do business remains one of the strongest in the world. The Matheson FDI Index reveals that the most positive attributes identified by US corporations considering Ireland as a location of choice for foreign direct investment (FDI) are its competitive tax regime, English-speaking and skilled workforce, ease of access, and Government incentives.

Launched today and to be updated every six months, The Matheson FDI Index, compiled by Amarách Research, surveyed 250 top Irish American business leaders in the US and investigated their perceptions of Ireland as a place to invest, their attitudes towards foreign direct investment and the factors affecting it.

The survey shows that 58% rated Ireland as a “good” place to do business, while one third, (32%) said they would be “likely” to set up operations in Ireland. 37% of those surveyed said their attitude towards setting up operations in Ireland had become more positive in the last five years. 

Liam Quirke, Managing Partner at Matheson, commented, “The findings of the survey overall are extremely positive. FDI is the cornerstone upon which our economic recovery is dependent. Ireland’s profile and reputation has taken a real battering in the midst of the global financial and economic crisis. Both domestically and internationally many have focused on the negative; this does not tell the full story. FDI in Ireland has remained very active and the results of the inaugural Matheson FDI Index confirm that despite the period of global recession over the past two years, Ireland’s offering to US multinational corporations remains one of the strongest in the world. President Obama’s imminent visit to Ireland, the first by a US President in 11 years, is an endorsement of the strength of the relationship between the two countries.”

Mr Quirke continued, “Ireland continues to have access to a highly-skilled workforce while cost-competitiveness has improved. Ireland has also built a critical mass of firms in a number of important industries such as financial services, pharmaceuticals, technology and internet services (including most recently, cloud computing), which in turn makes Ireland attractive for further investment in these areas.”

Liam Quirke, Managing Partner at Matheson said, “All the negative publicity and attention should not detract from the very real achievements in the Irish economy over the last 20 years, primarily driven by our success in attracting FDI.  Ireland has continued to provide the best business environment in Europe for US corporations looking to access the EU Internal Market.”

“The growth and development of multinationals, with their strong focus on high-value goods and services exports, is fundamental to the Irish economy and is an essential component of Ireland’s economic recovery.  Ireland’s future economic success will depend to a great extent on its ability to sustain an attractive habitat for FDI."

Matheson opened its first US office 15 years ago in Palo Alto in California and is the only Irish law firm with a presence on both the East and West Coasts of the US.  The firm has also recently announced a significant expansion of its New York office, making it the largest Irish law firm in the US and further enhancing its unrivalled offering to US corporations doing business in and through Ireland.


  • The questionnaire was formulated by, and the results analysed by, Amárach Research ( on behalf of Matheson. The research analysed responses from 250 leading business people in the US and was undertaken in the first three weeks of May 2011.
  • Research results are representative of a small but finely focused universe of respondents; the study distils perceptions of Ireland through the eyes of Irish American business people. 
  • It is intended that the survey will be repeated later in 2011 in order to track the impact of foreign direct investment strategy and changes in opinion over time.  The research programme has been designed from the outset so that benchmark findings contained in this report can be calibrated against future result.


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