Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD
Today, the sector employs over 260,000 people. Companies at the top of their market in areas such as biopharmaceuticals, medtech, electronics, engineering and industrial technologies are operating across the country.
The story of Irish manufacturing is one of incredible transformation and progress. From printing computer manuals to making micro-chips for the world, from producing garments to innovative medicines, from a factory floor for Britain to producing leading products for a diverse and highly competitive global market, the manufacturing industry in Ireland is unrecognisable to what it once was.
Investment in research and innovation
We have worked hard to provide the right environment for the industry to thrive here. Our low corporate tax rate was initially only for manufacturing. The sector was a huge focus for the Shannon Free Zone. More recently, we’ve invested in a network of research centres, providing access to the latest technologies, expertise and equipment. Ongoing Government grants are available to support innovation, company transformation and growth and we are, of course, very proud of and continue to invest in, our talented and skilled workforce.
The sector has shown remarkable resilience over the past few years with the pandemic and Brexit throwing up unprecedented challenges and uncertainty.
The sector has shown remarkable resilience over the past few years with the pandemic and Brexit throwing up unprecedented challenges and uncertainty. The industry and those working in it, have actually grown their operations over the period, which is an incredible feat given the circumstances. In doing so, they have kept supply chains going for products which are vital to thousands of people, including medical devices and life-saving medicines.
Preparing for the next challenge ahead
I’ve no doubt that the industry will rise again to the next set of challenges facing us, and will play an important role in solving them. With the need to decarbonise and digitalise our society and economy, we will require innovation and fresh thinking. Our manufacturers are very future focused and recognise the importance of embracing cutting-edge technologies including, extended reality, additive manufacturing, robotics, and automation, as well as Internet of Things sensing capability, edge-to-cloud connectivity, analytics and AI engines.
Irish operations are increasingly the home to global companies’ R&D functions, meaning Ireland is playing an important role in developing and producing next-generation products and services. Our Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund (DTIF) invests in such cutting-edge technologies and supports collaboration between industry and our research institutions. The future of manufacturing is exciting. Ireland is well-placed to play a role in what comes next and the Government is committed to backing companies based here to seize the opportunities it presents.