19/03/20 - 1530hrs
Martin Shanahan, CEO IDA Ireland:
This is a very difficult time for business, both Irish businesses and international businesses that are based here in Ireland and indeed businesses right across the globe.
This is a global pandemic and has caused widescale disruption to the global economy in which Ireland operates.
The global economic context within which the companies we support are operating is extremely challenging with international forecasting bodies predicting significant impacts on global growth, trade and on FDI flows.
As one of the most open economies in the world, Ireland will not escape this impact.
IDA remains open for business across the globe 'albeit' virtually to protect our employees and clients and we are engaged with investors.
Our focus is on three things:
1. Engaging with our 1500+ existing client companies at this time to support them in whatever way we can. Our Account Executives are in the process of reaching out to all of them.
2. Working with colleagues across the Government system incl. Minister Humphreys to plan for the next few weeks to ensure that companies can continue to operate and, in many cases, provide critical products and services.
3. Support the HSE in all of their efforts, but particularly in securing the necessary medical supplies that our health system and citizens need.
The vast majority of FDI companies are open and operational, many of them remotely, and we will support them to remain so where possible, in line with public health advice.
Businesses now have a key role to play in minimising the likelihood of transmission and impact on society. At this point, companies have implemented their business continuity plans. Many FDI companies are well positioned to leverage technology and have implemented their remote working policies where feasible.
That is not possible for all companies – many, particularly in the manufacturing sector, need their employees to continue to work on site to support manufacturing processes.
I want to pay tribute to those employees that continue to go to work to produce necessary goods and services that in many instances we require for us all to continue to live and go about our ‘new’ daily routines. And particularly acknowledge those in the Medical Technology sector.
I urge employers and employees to follow all public health advice and the advice from the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (refer to guidelines from DBEI). I also urge employers to amplify the Government and HSE public health advice to the communities in which they operate. Educating employees on COVID-19 symptoms and prevention will be crucial to slowing transmission of the virus.
Companies are being impacted by both Supply and Demand issues. The demand issues have led some companies to scale back activities and in some cases that may lead to temporary closures, in sectors where demand has decreased significantly. This is true in both b2b businesses and b2c businesses.
There are some sectors that will need to ramp up production of important products and we are working with them to facilitate that.
This crisis has again brought home to us that Ireland is hugely integrated into global supply chains – this event has had a significant impact already to those supply chains and this is likely to escalate as the health impact of the virus is felt here and elsewhere.
Ensuring that supply chains and critical infrastructure and utilities are kept open will be key so that we can work together to produce the goods and services that are needed globally to address the pandemic we are facing.
Ireland has a very significant Med Tech and Pharma Sector. It, together with our financial services, data centres, micro- electronics and engineering firms, are vital to ensuring that the supply of essential products and services are maintained during the coming period. IDA will continue to work with all stakeholder to achieve this.
We will continue to provide supports to our clients in addition to the general government measures that the Government has already announced, and the Minister(s) have already referred to. Many of those measures are targeted at supporting employees and that is welcome."