By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN – For the fourth successive year the IDA has reported record job creation in 1997 and the cost of grants to create them was the lowest ever.
The jobs boom is now bringing home in significant numbers “the missing generation” of emigrants who left the country, according to IDA chairman Denis Hanrahan.
He said the remarkable growth was raising new issues that needed attention, including infrastructure and skills problems, balanced regional distribution of jobs and the continued high number of long-term unemployed.
The annual report shows the IDA had filled nearly 15,000 jobs last year, a 10 percent increase.
Chief Executive Kieran McGowan said that in the areas of manufacturing and international services, Ireland is now getting one in five of all new “greenfield” projects coming into Europe.
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McGowan said figures for the first six months of this year showed the trend continuing with the job creation figures above the same period last year.
“I would expect us to do at least as well this year, probably a little
bit better,” he said. “We normally see about a year in advance and during that year our pipeline is very strong.
“It is driven by a few factors outside Ireland. For example, the sustained growth of the American economy and the sustained growth of the technology sector. While both of those are going very well our economy is competitive, so the combination of those factors is leading to a good performance in relation to inward investment.”
McGowan, who has announced he plans to retire at the end of the year after 32 years with the agency – eight of them as chief executive, said problems in Asian economies had some impact in part of the technology sector where there was price pressure.
He said that performance was very strong in the health care, pharmaceutical and financial-services sectors.
“The balance of the various areas we are involved with is giving us a picture of sustained growth,” he said.