Industry & Business

Manufacturing Sector Represents Almost a Third of the Irish Economy

Manufacturing Sector Represents Almost a Third of the Irish Economy

Manufacturing Sector Represents Almost a Third of the Irish Economy
January 21
15:33 2019

The Irish manufacturing sector employs over 250,000 people and accounts for 32% of Ireland’s GDP – significantly higher than the European average of 15% and Germany at 21%, according to Martin Shanahan (pictured), CEO of IDA Ireland. Manufacturing also plays a key role in helping to address the regional imbalance in the Irish economy with more than 80% of operations outside of Dublin.

Martin Shanahan was a keynote speaker at the recent National Manufacturing and Supply Chain Conference & Exhibition, held at the Citywest Convention Centre in Dublin. His presentation was entitled ‘Importance of Manufacturing to the Irish Economy’.

The Irish manufacturing sector is characterised by a wide diversity of activities and “Ireland punches well above its weight in supplying international markets,” he pointed out. “Ireland is globally recognised as an innovation hub across many sectors.”

Indeed, the Irish economy has been the fastest growing in the Euro zone for the past four years and employment at 2.25 million is currently at record levels. Ireland’s strong economic track record, political stability and talent base are all important factors in attracting FDI.

However, the disruptive changes generated by the unfolding fourth Industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) create both challenges and opportunities for Irish industry. “There is an opportunity for Ireland to be a global leader in advanced manufacturing,” he said, “but Irish companies must evolve and adapt new technologies and skill sets.”

To take advantage of this opportunity, the IDA is encouraging greater interplay between multinational and indigenous companies. To plug a significant gap in Ireland’s industrial infrastructure, an Advanced Manufacturing Centre is planned for Limerick, which will provide “a collaborative environment focused on core technologies,” Martin Shanahan explained. “The investment will complement existing investments.”

The IDA Ireland head continued: “The State must continue to invest in advanced manufacturing technology.”

Brexit also provides opportunities and threats. IDA Ireland has been successful in securing a substantial number of Brexit-related investments with 55 companies choosing Ireland entailing 4,500+ associated jobs. However, he urged Irish business to prepare for the worst case scenario. “Planning should be based on a ‘no deal’ Brexit as it is still a distinct possibility,” he warned.

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