I spent last week going through the Census of Industrial Production reports, 1983 to 2006, in order to find out just how many jobs in Ireland are provided directly by foreign investment.
This graph is what I got.
Notice how there is virtually no change in foreign-based industrial employment from the early 1980s onwards – in fact, as a percentage of the workforce it has steadily declined since 1981.
The real growth in foreign investment in Ireland in the past twenty years has been in foreign-based equity firms setting up shop in the IFSC. It is Ireland as a tax haven for finance – the only tax haven of its kind within the eurozone – which the government is desperately trying to protect with its defence of corporation tax.
It has almost nothing to do with industrial growth and the national economy.
[Note: The figures above are taken from the Census of Industrial Production series, which is published by the Central Statistics Office. The series, in various guises, goes back to 1926. The numbers for foreign-owned industry, however, start in 1983. The National Library call numbers are : OPIE I/77 (yrs 1926 - 1978) ; OPIE U/112 (yrs 1979 to date).]
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