Investing in Ireland

Your move in the right direction

Ireland is a prime location for many of the world’s leading businesses due to its focused pro-business policy framework which promotes a highly successful, open and competitive business environment.


Almost 1,000 multinational corporations have chosen Ireland as their strategic European base, attracted by our pro-business, low corporate tax environment, track record of success and a young, highly skilled workforce.

Despite the global economic crisis, Ireland has continued to attract significant high end Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) with record levels of new investments recorded in 2012. FDI in Ireland comprises of both continued and first time investment, and many of the world’s leading companies demonstrate their commitment to remaining established in Ireland by continuing to invest.

Ireland’s low tax regime has been a vital part of Ireland’s industrial policy and the Irish Government remains steadfastly committed to the 12.5% corporate tax regime.The future for FDI in Ireland is bright and the recent downward realignment of costs in Ireland has led to a significant increase in competitiveness.

As one of the leading professional services firms in the world, our global reach and vast industry expertise leave Deloitte Ireland ideally placed to assist you, whether you are considering a first time investment or continuing to invest.

We look forward to working with you.


Brendan Jennings, Managing Partner
Deloitte Ireland

Ireland is 1st:

  • for skilled labour that is readily available

(Source: IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2012)

  • for Foreign Direct Investment and technology transfer

(Source:World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report 2012-2013)

  • in Europe for best country for business

(Source: Forbes 2011)

  • for inward investment by quality and value

(Source: IBM- Global Location Trends Report 2012)

  • for real corporate taxes

(Source: IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook 2012)

  • for investor protection in Europe

(Source: The World Bank/IFC Doing Business 2013 Report)

“You’d have to be nuts not to take advantage of the unique investment opportunity presented by one of the most business-friendly countries in the world, with the youngest, best-educated workforce in Europe.”

Bill Clinton – 9 February 2012 New York Invest in Ireland Summit

Why Deloitte?

Our international Irish advisory teams
We are uniquely positioned as a firm with Irish advisory teams in key locations worldwide to help you with all your foreign direct investments. These teams are based in New York, Hong Kong San Jose and Ireland.

Our teamwork approach
We draw from our global network of member firms located in 150 countries to offer you world-class capabilities and the insight you need for your most complex business challenges. We also ensure that your experience with us is seamless and consistent whether you talk to us in Dublin or Dubai.

Our experience and expertise
Our record speaks for itself. We serve 100% of the 23 largest telecommunications companies, 81% of the 26 Fortune 500 Life Science and Health care companies and 29 of the 39 largest process manufacturers. International Tax Review ranks Deloitte Ireland as Tier 1 advisors and awarded us the 2012 Ireland Transfer Pricing Firm of the year.

Ireland's increasing cost competitiveness

A realignment of labour and real estate costs over the past three years has allowed Ireland to enhance its competitiveness as a location for inward investment and position itself favorably among the most competitive countries in the world in which to do business.

Ireland’s cost competitiveness has significantly improved in the past number of years, as a result of exchange rate movements and adjustments within the Irish economy. Recent research from the European Commission acknowledges that Ireland has registered significant gains in cost competitiveness since 2009. Ireland’s international cost competitiveness has reached levels not witnessed since February 2003. (Source: Central Bank of Ireland. Real Harmonised Competitiveness Inductors (HCI), online database).

Ireland has one of the lowest levels of employers’ social welfare contributions. The Irish rate is significantly lower than the OECD average and the euro area average which reduces the total costs of labour here on a relative basis.

The investment climate

Political background
Ireland is a parliamentary democracy. A constitutional president with largely ceremonial duties is elected by universal suffrage.

Economic structure
Industry accounts for a higher level of output than is the case in most other developed economies, and most manufacturing is foreign-owned and profitable, resulting in large amounts of profits repatriated abroad. However, as manufacturing output growth has slowed and services output has accelerated in many sectors, the structure of the Irish economy is becoming more like that of other developed economies. Agriculture remains relatively more important in Ireland than in other Western European economies.

Foreign trade
The Irish economy relies heavily on foreign trade. The UK and the US are Ireland’s largest trading partners.

Exchange controls
There are no exchange controls and approval is not required for foreign investment or capital importation.

Principal forms of doing business
The selection of a corporate structure for an investment in Ireland will be strongly influenced by tax considerations such as the Irish tax rate applying to operations, the group’s home country tax considerations, and the group’s future plans for repatriating profits earned in Ireland back to the home country.

Private and public limited liability companies are the two main forms of corporate organisation in Ireland. Most foreign investors choose the former, as they are less costly to set up and easier to operate. In a private limited company, the right to transfer shares is restricted, the number of nonemployee shareholders may not exceed 99, and no shares or debentures may be offered to the public. A public limited company must have at least seven members and a minimum nominal capital of

€38,092.14. Foreign investors may also choose to set up a local operation by establishing a branch in Ireland. Such branch representative offices may sometimes not be taxable in Ireland, as a result of their activities or tax treaty relief.

Ease of setting up a company
Setting up an Irish company is straightforward and can be completed within one week if a standard set of Memorandum and Articles of Association are used.

“Ireland is the world’s largest net exporter of pharmaceuticals with exports valued at €55 billion, accounting for 50% of exports.”

Minister John Perry


Labour environment

Employees’ rights and remuneration
Much of Ireland’s labour legislation is driven by developments in the EU. Labour legislation should present no special difficulties to employers, but it is strictly enforced.The contract between employer and employee in Ireland has traditionally been based on common law. There is a significant regulatory overlay, including a requirement to provide a written statement of terms and conditions of employment within two months of hiring. Specific rules apply to fixed-term contracts.

Social insurance
Irish social security contributions are referred to as Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) contributions. Both employee PRSI (4%) and employer (10.75%) contributions are payable. In general, employee/employer contributions are made through the PAYE system. The Universal Social Charge is an additional social security charge on gross income and ranges from 2-10%, depending on income levels.

Other benefits
Employees are entitled by law to four paid weeks of holiday a year. There are nine paid statutory public holidays annually.

Employment of foreign nationals
An employer must hold an employment permit if it employs a non EEA national in Ireland. Different types of employment permits exist (e.g. work permits and green card permits), and the type of permit required will depend on the salary offered to the employee and the employee’s job title. Where an employee is seconded by their foreign employer to work or train in a related Irish entity, an intra-company transfer permit may be applied for.In 2007, a spousal scheme was introduced, enabling the spouse of an individual with an Irish work permit to apply for a spousal work permit once they have secured a job offer from an Irish employer.

Certain passport holders will require a visa in addition to an employment permit.

More information

The Deloitte Investing in Ireland publication provides a guide for both first-time investors in Ireland and businesses looking to expand and develop, covering topics including:

  • Key features of Ireland’s attractive tax regime
  • Foreign investment incentives
  • The investment climate
  • The labour environment
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