Performance 2020

•    Investments continued & Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) employment grew in 2020 despite impact of COVID-19

•    Over 20,000 new jobs created in 2020

•    Numbers directly employed in multinational sector in Ireland grew to 257,394

•    Existing base of FDI has shown continued resilience 
•    246 investments won in 2020 - 95 new name investments 

•    More than half (52%) of investments went to regional locations

•    Net job creation of 8,944

•    Higher job losses than recent years in some sectors

New Strategy

•    Reflecting the ambition of the Government’s forthcoming National Economic Plan, IDA Ireland’s new Strategy 2021 - 2024 to target 800 investments and 50,000 new jobs with focus on five pillars – Growth, Transformation, Regions, Sustainability and Impact

•    400 of the 800 investments objective in new strategy targeted at regional locations


•    COVID-19 expected to continue to negatively impact global flows of FDI in 2021

•    Competition for FDI in key sectors is intensifying as recovery continues

•    Focus on Ireland’s competitiveness remains critical

•    Outlook for next 12 months is “uncertain” - IDA Ireland CEO Martin Shanahan 

January 6th, 2021 Dublin -  IDA Ireland, the inward investment agency of the Irish Government, today reported continued investment in 2020 despite the serious disruption to business caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic.

246 new investments were won in 2020 and 20,123 new jobs were created. 95 investments were from new investors and 151 investments from existing companies. 128 (52%) of the 246 projects won were for regional locations. Employment growth of 3.6% in IDA Ireland supported companies was achieved in 2020. Total employment in IDA Ireland client companies in Ireland now stands at 257,394, accounting directly for 12.4% of COVID-adjusted national employment, up from 10.7% in 2019 as a result of the severe impact of the pandemic on certain domestic facing sectors and the employment growth within IDA Ireland’s client base. Additionally, eight jobs are created in the wider economy for every ten created by IDA Ireland client companies, amounting to estimated total direct and indirect employment of 463,309.

An T├ínaiste & Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment Leo Varadkar T.D. said: “Despite a year of unprecedented challenges to our economy, these results show that foreign direct investment has been remarkably resilient. We still saw a net increase in FDI jobs of nearly 9,000 in 2020. This is a testament to the attractiveness of Ireland as a destination for companies seeking to invest.

FDI was central to Ireland’s recovery during the last recession and it will be crucial again as we rebuild after the pandemic. As a small open economy, we need both our indigenous and FDI sectors to be strong and built on solid foundations. Around half of all investment made by FDI companies this year went to counties outside of Dublin. We will continue to seek out opportunities for all parts of the country, not just our major cities and towns.

The new IDA Strategy being published today was written in the context of continuing uncertainty with the virus and Brexit. It prioritises growing the regional enterprise base, driving productivity, building a sustainable enterprise base and increasing the spill-over effects from FDI to SMEs. We will continue to keep progress and plans under review over the months and years ahead and adapt to support Ireland’s recovery.”

Martin Shanahan, CEO IDA Ireland said: “In the context of the COVID-19 global pandemic, FDI’s performance is remarkable.  It is encouraging that Ireland has been able to secure such a significant number (246) of investments and grow employment in 2020, a year of unprecedented disruption to global business and adverse impact on global economies.  

246 investments in 2020 compares to 250 investments in the same period last year - an excellent outcome, achieved through a focus on our existing client base and on stronger than anticipated new name performance. Job losses were slightly up on recent years at 4.5%. Sectors such as Life Sciences and Technology were much less affected and, in a number of cases, increased operations in response to demand for COVID related products, mitigating job losses in other sectors. At the end of the year, 52% of employees in IDA Ireland client companies remained working from home, compared to 28% nationally.
The bulk of investments came from North America, delivering 67% of investments, a larger US contribution compared to recent years. This was driven in part by our focus on existing companies and the strong existing base of US corporates and their investments in expansion, R&D and training activity in Ireland.”

On the launch of the new strategy Driving Recovery & Sustainable Growth 2021-2024, the CEO said: “Ireland’s extraordinary FDI performance over the past five years put us in a strong position going into the COVID-19 crisis and the high-value sectors we have pursued provide us with a strong base from which to help to drive recovery once again. Going into 2020, employment levels in IDA Ireland’s client companies had reached 245,096 - the highest ever number employed in the multinational sector, exceeding all targets contained in IDA Ireland’s Strategy – Winning: Foreign Direct Investment 2015-2019.  That has now risen again in 2020, to 257,394.
IDA Ireland’s new strategy has been developed cognisant of the Government’s forthcoming National Economic Plan. The ambition of the new strategy reflects IDA Ireland’s assessment of the opportunities ahead, recognising the centrality of FDI to a resilient and sustainable economic recovery. The targets included in the strategy are ambitious and success will not be easy, nor is it guaranteed in such an uncertain global environment. It will depend upon the growth potential of our clients, Ireland’s competitiveness, the skills, knowledge and proven tenacity of IDA Ireland teams around the world, on the support of Government, the provision of the required resources and on collaborative engagement with key stakeholders to maximise the benefit of FDI on communities across the country.”
About the new strategy, IDA Ireland Chairman Frank Ryan said: “The need to focus on sustainability, supporting our client base to innovate and transform in order to not just remain viable, but to develop and grow, has never been more important. It is why we have made sustainability, innovation and transformation an integral part of our new strategy.”

“IDA Ireland is cognizant and appreciative of the support it receives on an ongoing basis from our parent Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment and many other Government Departments and Agencies. With the Department’s continued support in these challenging times, the FDI sector can once again help drive Ireland’s economic recovery in the coming years” the Chairman added.

In support of the new strategy’s continued focus on regional development, IDA Ireland will deliver 19 Advanced Building Solutions (ABS) to regional locations.

The planned building solutions have a geographical spread in line with the National Planning Framework, with particular emphasis on the Border and Midlands regions reflecting our strategic focus on supporting the necessary conditions to attract FDI in regions of significant economic need (e.g. with high exposure to Brexit, Just Transition regions.)

IDA Ireland will also partner with the private sector and local authorities to deliver buildings in key locations where appropriate; invest in significant infrastructure projects across our portfolio of Business and Technology Parks to upgrade and maintain these key assets in line with the evolving requirements of IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland clients and maintain a focus on land banks and utility intensive strategic sites to future proof the ability of our property portfolio to support the project pipeline, most notably large-scale capital-intensive projects which can have significant regional and national economic impacts.

“IDA Ireland’s end of year results for 2020, the IDA Ireland CEO said, are further proof of the strength of Ireland’s value proposition, the continued resilience of the FDI sector and the important role FDI has to play in Ireland’s recovery.” At the same time, he said: “We are acutely aware of the extremely challenging global economic climate we are operating in and note the predictions of continued significant impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on global growth, trade and on FDI flows. Continued focus on competitiveness is essential.”

Commenting on the number of investments (128) won for regional locations in 2020, Martin Shanahan said: “IDA Ireland has had a relentless focus on winning regional investments, this continued in 2020, despite the upheaval caused by the pandemic. Our focus on regions will continue in our new strategy – our objective is to win half of the 800 target investments for regional locations.”

On FDI’s benefit to Ireland, he said: The activities of the over 1,600 multinational companies (MNCs) supported by IDA in Ireland make a crucial contribution to employment, the public finances, regional development, global value chain integration, indigenous enterprise, innovation and more.”

The impact of multinational companies (MNCs) nationally and regionally goes far beyond their direct and indirect employment contribution. Irish economy expenditure by IDA Ireland clients in 2019 totalled €25.2bn, an increase of 14.8% on the previous year. Payroll spend was up 11.3% to €15.1bn, Irish materials spend rose by 2.3% to €2.7bn and Irish services spend was up 29% to €7.4bn. Capital expenditure increased in 2019 by 10% to €7.4bn, the bulk of it concentrated in the Life Sciences and Technology sectors.

As part of the new strategy, IDA Ireland plans to partner with clients for future growth through 170 RD&I and 130 training investments, to embrace the opportunities of a green recovery with 60 sustainability investments and to target a 20% increase in client expenditure in Ireland to maximise FDI impact.
Martin Shanahan said: “IDA Ireland’s ambition is to capitalise on opportunities to provide MNCs with solutions to the challenges they face in this difficult global environment and in the face of accelerating emerging trends that will reshape business models, such as remote working and technology adoption.  We will partner with existing clients to safeguard and enhance their mandates in Ireland, while also attracting the next generation of leading-edge MNCs in our core sectors of focus. IDA Ireland has placed sustainable growth at the centre of our strategy, in line with Government policy, international consensus, the vision of our clients, and the demands of citizens. We will seek growth that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs while fostering an inclusive, sustainable, and resilient economy and society.”
IDA Ireland intends reviewing the strategy at its mid-point. Martin Shanahan says: “Given the extraordinarily high uncertainty around the global economic outlook and resulting impact on FDI, we believe a mid-way review is prudent. Towards the end of 2022, we will assess progress and make any adjustments necessary to respond to changes in the global or national environment. While IDA Ireland believes the strategy is directionally correct in its current focus and form, we will be as pragmatic and flexible as required in adapting to circumstances as they unfold.”

Link to IDA Ireland strategy Driving Recovery & Sustainable Growth 2021-2024:

IDA Ireland’s job creation performance is measured by an annual labour force survey, commissioned independently by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment. The results are compiled directly from responses given by IDA client companies on their current headcount numbers. This survey measures people in employment in IDA client companies at the end of the survey period only. The survey does not measure, or count, future employment intentions or future job creation plans issued as part of press announcements.
IDA Ireland’s new strategy - Driving Recovery & Sustainable Growth 2021-2024 
IDA’s new strategy has been developed in the context of the Government’s National Economic Plan. This strategy positions IDA to respond to the emerging trends that are accelerating as a result of the Covid-19 global pandemic.  It identifies the opportunities for sustainable growth among IDA’s established base of clients through a focus on transformative investments to increase the productivity of Irish operations and their workforce through RD&I, digitisation, training and actions on sustainability.
Crucially it also maintains a focus on attracting the next generation of leading MNCs to locate in Ireland, further driving sustainable growth and maximising the impact of FDI in Ireland to 2024 and beyond.
IDA will set out to:

  • Win 800 investments – with the aim of having half of those go to regions

  • Support client job creation of 50,000

  • Drive market diversification

Our new strategy will be delivered through a focus on five pillars: Growth, Transformation, Regions, Sustainability and Impact.

  • Under the Growth pillar, IDA will win investment to support job creation & economic activity

  • Under the Transformation pillar, IDA will partner with clients for future growth in Ireland

  • Under the Regions pillar, IDA will win investment to advance regional development 

  • Under the Sustainability pillar IDA will embrace an inclusive and green recovery

  • And under the Impact pillar, IDA will maximise FDI’s positive impact on indigenous businesses and communities

These five interlinked pillars align with and are guided by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


FDI employment 2020

Category Results 2019 (announced Jan 2020) Results 2020
Total Employment 245,096 257,394
Job Gains 21,844 20,123
Job Losses -7,977 -11,179
Net Employment Change 13,867 8,944
*results as published in 2019 end of year statement

Total Territory Investments and Jobs
Ireland continued to win the bulk of its investment from North America with 67% investments an increase on recent years.

   Total North America  Europe Growth Markets
2019 ABSEI Results – Irish Economy Expenditure (IEE)
€bn 2019 % change
Payroll 15.1 11.3
Irish Materials 2.7 2.3
Irish Services 7.4 29
Total Irish Economy Spend 25.2 14.8
Capital Investment 7.4 10
In-House R&D 2.6 17.2
Training 105 8.8
Exports 255.3 10.7
* The Irish Economy Expenditure data relates to 2019
2020 Employment Survey: by sector
Sector 2019 2020 % change
Manufacturing 109,540 112,240 2.5%
Pharmaceuticals & Food 32,288 34,187 5.9%
Medical Devices 35,946 36,304 1.0%
Computer, electronic and optical products 19,901 21,050 5.8%
Other Manufacturing 21,405 20,699 -3.3%
Services 138,910 145,154 4.5%
Information & Communication 94,105 99,357 5.6%
Financial Services 29,167 29,419 0.9%
Business & Other Services 15,638 16,378 4.7%
Total 248,450 257,394 3.6%
Regional Employment
Region 2019 2020 % change
Eastern & Midlands 131,775 137,409 4.3%
Dublin 107,807 112,705 4.5%
Mid East 17,773 18,396 3.5%
Midlands 6,195 6,308 1.8%
Northern & Western 35,736 36,346 1.7%
West 27,014 27,695 2.5%
Border 8,722 8,651 -0.8%
Southern 80,939 83,639 3.3%
South West 43,812 46,009 5.0%
Mid West 24,031 24,169 0.6%
South East 13,096 13,461 2.8%
TOTAL 248,450 257,394 3.6%

IDA Ireland’s Regional Property Programme
The timely provision of appropriate, innovative and cost-effective property and infrastructure solutions to meet the needs of MNCs that are at the forefront of the modern economy remains essential to winning FDI. IDA’s regional property programme ensures the supply of land, buildings and infrastructure in regional locations as required by current and prospective clients of both IDA and Enterprise Ireland. A robust property and infrastructure ecosystem can be the key differentiator in winning FDI projects. Over the last 5 years, IDA’s Regional Property Programme enabled the winning of capital-intensive projects of significant scale to regional locations.

Ongoing risk aversion, financing challenges and the uncertainty associated with Covid-19 and Brexit are all likely to continue to result in a lack of commercial property solutions in regional locations. IDA therefore must continue to intervene where market failure exists to ensure that the necessary property and infrastructure solutions are in place to maintain and attract FDI to regions in line with our strategic objectives and regional targets. In addition to our own property solutions, IDA will also continue to work with commercial property developers and Local Authorities to market other property solutions across all regions where they exist.

The locations in which IDA will provide property solutions over the lifetime of its new strategy Driving Recovery & Sustainable Growth 2021-2024 were chosen based on extensive analysis, engagement, review and consultation as well as macroeconomic considerations, existing clusters and available resources. IDA will deliver 19 Advanced Building Solutions (ABS) to regional locations: 

  • In the Border region, IDA will deliver building solutions in Cavan, Letterkenny, Sligo (x2) and Monaghan.

  • In the Mid-East, IDA will deliver building solutions in Drogheda and Dundalk.

  • In the Mid-West, IDA will deliver a building solution in Limerick and complete construction of the Advanced Manufacturing Centre.

  • In the Midlands, IDA will deliver building solutions in Athlone (x2), Longford and Mullingar.

  • In the South-East, IDA will deliver building solutions in Waterford and Carlow.

  • In the South-West, IDA will deliver a building solution in Tralee.

  • In the West, IDA will deliver building solutions in Galway (x2) and Mayo.

IDA will also partner with Local Authorities and the private sector to deliver additional buildings in key locations where appropriate. In each region, IDA will invest in significant infrastructure projects across our portfolio of Business and Technology Parks to upgrade and maintain these key assets in line with the evolving requirements of IDA and EI clients. IDA will also maintain a focus on land banks and utility intensive strategic sites to future proof the ability of our property portfolio to support the project pipeline, most notably large-scale capital-intensive projects which can have significant regional and national economic impacts.
Ireland is at the heart of Europe.  Ireland’s continued commitment to the EU is a core part of Ireland’s value proposition to foreign investors. 
As companies seek Brexit solutions that will impose the lowest possible additional costs and the least possible disruption to trade, Ireland offers a base to sustain access to the Single Market, to minimise uncertainty and to grow their business. Now, post-Brexit, Ireland is the only English-speaking common-law jurisdiction fully integrated into the European legal order.
The EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA) together with the Withdrawal Agreement, including the Protocol on Ireland/Northern Ireland, means that Ireland’s key objectives in the Brexit process have been achieved.
Investors continue to assess the impact of the recently agreed deal.

IDA Ireland announcements 2020
  • AxiomSL, Limerick. Established business operations centre in Limerick, creating 100 jobs.

  • doTerra, Cork. A manufacturer of essential oils and wellness products, the company announced it was establishing a facility in Blarney creating 100 jobs.

  • Mastercard, Dublin. Launched its new campus site in Leopardstown as its new Technology Hub for Europe, creating 1,500 jobs.

  • UPMC, Kilkenny. Company announced it was opening a global technology operations centre in Kilkenny to support international expansion, with the creation of 60 jobs.

  • HubSpot, Dublin. Company commits to creating 450 jobs in Ireland as it announced new office space ‘HubSpot House’.

  • TriggerFish, Galway. The South African animation studio announced it had chosen Galway as home for its first international expansion, creating 60 jobs.

  • Udemy, Dublin.  A global marketplace for learning and teaching online, the company announced the opening of its expanded office in Dublin, creating 100 jobs.

  • BearingPoint Beyond, Dublin. The growing SaaS-based digital platform solution provider announced an expansion of its operations and the opening of a new technology centre in Dublin, creating 50 jobs.

  • Gilead Sciences, Inc. (Nasdaq: GILD). Dublin. Announced plans to invest approximately €7 million in the company’s Irish operations, opening a new base in Dublin and creating 140 jobs.

  • Amazon, Dublin. Creating another 1,000 permanent jobs in Ireland over the next two years. The new, highly skilled roles will be based in locations across the company’s Cork and Dublin sites in Blanchardstown, Tallaght, the city centre, and north County Dublin, and will bring Amazon’s total permanent workforce in the country to 5,000 people over the next two years.

  • Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., (NASDAQ: REGN).  Limerick. Leading, science-driven biopharmaceutical company announced that it will add more than 400 new jobs, bringing total headcount to over 1,400 at its Industrial Operations and Product Supply (IOPS) campus in the Limerick area.

  • Edwards, Dublin. Leading supplier of vacuum and abatement services and solutions to the global semiconductor industry, announced it is establishing a new Service Technology Centre (STC) in Blanchardstown, Dublin to support the semiconductor manufacturing industry in Ireland. The new centre and associated field service operations are expected to employ up to 120 people across activities such as technology, engineering and support.  The development represents an investment in the region of US$7.5 million.

  • Munich Re Automation Solutions Ltd, Dublin. Announced plans to invest approximately €16 million in Horizons, an innovative research & development programme evolving the business from a product to a platform company. The business will recruit a large new team of skilled people, to complement its existing team in Dublin and accelerate the development of new cloud products/services. Munich Re plans to fill up to 60 positions over the coming 24 months.

  • Exida, Shannon. Announced that it has chosen Shannon as the location of a European Centre of Excellence, creating 25 roles over the next five years.

  • Diligent Corporation, Galway. Plans to create more than 200 local jobs in Galway across several business functions, including customer support, customer success, finance, product, HR and marketing.

  • Pfizer, Dublin, Kildare, Cork.  €300 million capital investment in its Irish operations which will support the further development of existing manufacturing sites in Grange Castle, Newbridge and Ringaskiddy. The investment will provide additional manufacturing and laboratory capacity creating approximately 300 roles, with additional anticipated construction roles in Ringaskiddy, Cork.  The investment and additional roles will be completed over the next two to three years.

  • CSC, Wexford. One of the world's largest privately-held businesses providing financial, corporate administration, and depositary services to global alternative asset managers and capital markets participants, plans to establish a European Centre of Operational Excellence in Gorey, Co., Wexford, creating 75 jobs over four years.

  • Cadence, Cork.  Opening a new European R&D Centre of Excellence in Cork, Ireland, to further expand local computational software development. Over the next three years, Cadence expects to create approximately 150 new engineering positions in Cork, facilitating customer design advancement in emerging consumer, hyperscale computing, 5G communications, automotive, aerospace, industrial, mobile and healthcare application areas.

  • Trilateral Research, Waterford.  Plans to add 40 new roles in Ireland over the next four years. The company’s Irish office, based in Belview Port, Waterford, will grow to incorporate the company’s machine learning, AI and software specialisms alongside their research, data protection and cyber-risk services.

  • Tik Tok. Dublin,  Announced that they nearly have 900 employees in Dublin and expect to create at least another 200 roles over the next three months, bringing their total headcount in Ireland to over 1,100 by January 2021.

  • Qualcomm, Cork. Will invest €78m to establish a new Research and Development centre in Cork, and is expected to create hundreds of highly-skilled roles over the next four years. 

  • Transact, Limerick. Leading integrated payment and credential software solution company for campus environments, has today announced it will create 110 new jobs in Limerick City Centre.

  • UNUM, Carlow. Leading provider of group and individual income protection insurance in the US, UK & Poland, is expanding its Technology Centre of Excellence in Carlow. The Fortune 500 company, with 150 employees in Carlow, originally came to the South East region in 2008. Unum recently expanded workspace at Shamrock Plaza, helping the company enter the next phase of its expansion and exceed the original target of employing 200 people locally.

  • Microsoft, Dublin. Announced the creation of 200 engineering roles to strengthen its existing Dublin-based team of over 600 highly skilled engineers.  The company also unveiled details of its new €27m Engineering Hub at its growing campus in Leopardstown, Dublin.

  • Retail-in-Motion, Dublin. Global in-flight retail and technology specialist headquartered in Dublin, announced that it will carry out a new R&D project to meet the new demands arising from the COVID-19 pandemic and utilise pioneering technology to drive innovation and improve the passenger experience across all stages of their journey. 

  • IQVIA, Remote Working. Global provider of advanced analytics, technology solutions and clinical research services to the life sciences industry, announced the creation of 170 remote jobs throughout Ireland.

  • Takeda Ireland, Co Wicklow. Subsidiary of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Ltd, has officially launched the expansion of its production line at its Bray facility. The company which has been established in Bray since 1997 currently employs more than 340 employees at the Co. Wicklow facility in which it has invested €20m over the past two years.

  • Harmac Medical Products (Harmac), Roscommon. Announced a major investment in its facility as it accelerates the manufacturing of surgical masks and non-invasive ventilation products, creating 60 new roles. 

  • MSD, Co Meath. Building a new manufacturing facility at the company’s newly acquired Dunboyne Biologics campus in Co. Meath.  The new facility is expected to create an estimated 140 new jobs by 2025 and will support an innovative new approach to developing and launching MSD’s future biologics medicines. Additionally, the existing MSD Dunboyne Biologics facility expect to hire approximately 100 new employees within the coming year.