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January 28th, 2010
R&D, hi-tech manufacturing, multinationals and Irish start-ups need closer ties right now.
In the aftermath of the dotcom bust of nearly a decade ago and as the poison chalice of property began to be consumed by the mouthful, there was a saying around this country that manufacturing was dead. This wasn't strictly true: only a certain kind of manufacturing had moved on - the cheap and easy kind that can be replicated anywhere.
What few Irish citizens realise is that the activities of companies located here such as Wyeth, Boston Scientific and Intel are not possible anywhere else on the planet. The problem is how do we ensure that manufacturing is not a multinational-oriented activity only, so that Irish indigenous manufacturers can be among the most advanced in the world?
We are already away on a hack in some respects. In the west of Ireland, close to 30,000 people are employed in a growing medical devices cluster estimated to be the second largest of its kind on the planet.
Ireland and foreign direct investment
IDA Ireland chief executive Barry O'Leary made the point at a nanotechnology event held before Christmas that while globally foreign direct investment (FDI) is down 30pc, Ireland is still punching above its weight.
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