Michael McGrath TD, Minister for Finance in the Government of Ireland, discusses how the United States is woven into the very fabric of Irish enterprise.
Note: This piece was originally published in the Ireland INC US 250 Index Special Report 2023
The US is one of Ireland’s most steadfast economic partners. Beyond this strong and mutually beneficial economic relationship, we also enjoy deep historical and cultural ties, most recently evident during the historic visit of President Biden to Ireland earlier this year. I was honoured to meet with him and his delegation in my capacity as Minister for Finance.
Today, the United States is woven into the very fabric of Irish enterprise, where it is estimated that at least 900 American companies with operations based in Ireland employ over 190,000 people directly and over 152,000 people indirectly. Of course, the benefits of our economic relationship flow in both directions. Ireland is the 9th largest source of Foreign Direct Investment into the US. Latest reports show that 700 Irish-owned companies operate across all 50 states, employing over 110,000 people. The companies cross a broad range of industries, including construction, education, energy, environmental, medical devices and software.
I had the opportunity to engage with representatives from the Irish business community operating in the US earlier this year during my St. Patrick’s Day engagements in Chicago, where I met with Enterprise Ireland supported companies in the agri-food, technology, manufacturing and healthcare sectors.
So far this year, Enterprise Ireland client companies have added 46 new US presences, already ahead of previous years where 60-65 is their average full-year total. There is also increasing data around Irish companies expanding across multiple state locations.
There is a Team Ireland approach to identifying opportunities to help Irish companies access new markets and increase the levels of foreign direct investment into Ireland. Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland work closely with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, as well as colleagues from the Department of Foreign Affairs, led by our Embassy in Washington and supported by Ireland’s eight US Consulates. Each year, a programme of trade missions and events support the goal of securing market access for Irish companies, as well as reinforcing the importance of the Ireland/US relationship.
It’s important too to acknowledge the work of Tourism Ireland in optimizing the flight connectivity between Ireland and the US; this is a key influencer for Irish companies looking to overseas markets.
Ireland provides US firms with a welcoming, competitive gateway into the EU single market, one of the largest markets in the world. Client company strengths in key growth sectors such as Cyber Security, HR and Talent Technology, Healthcare, Financial Services, Animation and increasingly our provenance and story has added to traction in the consumer retail industry.
We look forward to the Aer Lingus College Football Classic this August between Notre Dame and Navy. Occasions such as this are great keystone events to facilitate a whole range of engagement in culture, tourism and trade between Ireland and the US.
Sporting occasions such as the 2027 Ryder Cup in Limerick and the 2024 college football game featuring Georgia Tech and Florida State will present further opportunities to celebrate the unique relationship between the two countries.
Overall, the success of our modern partnership is the result of decades of mutual trust, cooperation and respect.
About the author: Michael McGrath is a TD for Cork South Central and is currently the Minister for Finance in the Government of Ireland. He previously served as Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform from 2020 to 2022.