Ireland is a Republican State, having gained its independence from the United Kingdom in 1922.  Ireland, or the Republic of Ireland (with a population of just under 5 million inhabitants) is a small, modern, trade-dependent economy.  From an economic and import/export trade perspective, it is worthwhile clarifying that the Republic of Ireland (with Dublin as its capital city) still continues to be an EU Member state whilst Northern Ireland with Belfast as its capital city is no longer in the EU, due to Brexit, given that Northern Ireland forms part of United Kingdom.

Ireland’s vision is to recognize one of its key competitive sectors – its agri-business (agri-food & fisheries sector) as a key driver for an export-led economic recovery.  This vision will also place a renewed focus on other mature sectors in Ireland (tourism, retail & wholesale, construction).

Other important competitive Irish industry sectors include: – ICT, healthcare and life sciences. Ireland is the 2nd largest exporter of medical devices in Europe.  10 of the world’s top selling prescription drugs are made in Ireland.

From 2021 onwards, some leading Finnish business experts have concluded that there would be business opportunities for Finnish companies in Ireland in the fields of cyber security and digital healthcare.

Companies involved in a wide range of activities in sectors as diverse as engineering, ICT, pharmaceutical/medical and research & development view Ireland as a uniquely attractive location to do business. Over the years, the country’s highly competitive corporate tax rate of 12.5% provided Ireland with a strong incentive for foreign investment. However recently in 2021, a historic landmark reform took place and the Irish government agreed to increase its corporate tax rate to 15%. This was the biggest shift for the country’s tax system in almost 20 years.  In the short to mid-term, industry experts believe that foreign investment will not be affected by this rise.

SMEs dominate the industry sector in Ireland. Ireland has a strong tech based sector linked to SME start-ups & entrepreneurship and the Irish are globally minded in this context.  In addition, the top 10 global technology companies are based in Ireland.  The capital city of Dublin serves as the European headquarters for a number of USA tech firms including Google, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.

Before doing business in Ireland, it is essential to be aware of key concepts and values related to Irish culture. Doing business successfully in Ireland requires an understanding of local business culture and etiquette to avoid pitfalls.

Isabel Wilkins

Business Consultant
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