Galway still sits on top of multinationals’ wishlists

Parkmore has been key to attracting foreign investment to Galway

Galway continues to be the preferred base for global companies investing in Ireland because it meets their ‘rigorous criteria’, according to IDA Ireland.

And with Galway’s reputation as the ‘location of choice’ for such companies being boosted over the past year, the IDA is optimistic that further Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) will be attracted in 2019.

New arrivals to Galway and existing companies undergoing expansion here saw the announcement of 775 new jobs in 2018.

And a further positivity indicator is that Government figures show there were a total of 42 IDA-sponsored site visits to County Galway by potential investors up to the end of September 2018 (which is the most up-to-date figure available).

The counties with more site visits were Dublin (209 for the same period) and Cork at 45. The next highest numbers of visits on the list were Limerick at 25 and Westmeath at 18.

The IDA’s Regional Business Development Manager for the West Region, Catherina Blewitt, said: “It’s been an extremely positive year again for Galway, and particularly Galway City, in terms of FDI.

“Galway’s reputation as a location of choice for global companies grew in 2018 with the arrival of companies like Genesys, Quidel and SOTI Inc and expansions announced by established companies Wayfair, MathWorks and Mazars.

“Galway has delivered expansions and also announced new investment this year.

“It’s proof that new companies continue to see Galway as an excellent location while it’s a vote of confidence and commitment to Galway and testament to the success of their operations here from established companies.

“We have shown that we can meet the rigorous criteria required by global companies seeking to invest in Ireland; we have the skilled workers, connectivity, excellent third-level institutes and the required level of infrastructure and services they look to for a pipeline of skills, coupled with a robust and supportive business culture.

“Our collaboration with other stakeholders continued in 2018, we supported the development of new infrastructure such as the N6 Galway Ring Road, developments like the Bonham Quay project and other planned commercial developments currently in the planning process such as those proposed for Ballybane and Mervue.

“We also supported projects for Galway that received funding under the Rural and Urban Regeneration funding announced recently; the Portershed, Nuns Island, Sandy Road and infrastructure upgrades on the east of the city.

“For our part, in providing the necessary property solutions to attract investment, we have recently completed construction of a new Advance Office Building of 45,000 square foot in Parkmore, delivered through the PPP (Public Private Partnership) model.

“Planning permission for an Advance Building Solution in Parkmore, was recently secured from Galway County Council and is currently going through the tender process. IDA also works closely with the private sector to secure the provision of appropriate and cost-effective solutions suitable for FDI clients. We look forward to continuing our progress in 2019,” said Ms Blewitt.

Silicon Valley tech firm Genesys announced in November that it would create 200 new technology jobs in Galway over three years, making it one of the largest artificial intelligence development centres in Ireland.

Ms Blewitt said: “In October, the mobile and ‘Internet of Things’ device management solutions company SOTI Inc. reinforced its commitment to growing its Ireland operations as a European tech hub with the announcement of its new Galway office. Fifty new jobs are being created immediately with a further 100 to be created over the next three years.

“The Quidel Corporation, a provider of rapid diagnostic testing solutions and molecular diagnostic systems, announced plans in February to set up operations in Galway, creating 75 jobs over five years. It’s the company’s first expansion into international facilities. In June the company officially opened its new Business Service Centre.”

She said that growth in existing companies came from online home furnishings retailer Wayfair; MathWorks, a developer of mathematical computing software for engineers and scientists and in the audit, tax and advisory firm Mazars.

“Supporting our existing companies to grow and develop is a key focus for us. Wayfair celebrated the 10th anniversary of its multi-lingual European Operations Centre in Galway with news that it is to expand its workforce across the country through the launch of a virtual 200 strong workforce.

“MathWorks, which established a shared sales and services centre in Galway in 2016 announced in recent days that it is to hire an additional 70 people.

“Mazars officially opened its new Galway office and announced its intention to create up to 30 new jobs over a three-year period, doubling the office headcount,” she said,

Ms Blewitt also pointed to other success stories in Galway which are supported by IDA Ireland.

“One great example is Thermo King Ingersoll Rand, who manufacture refrigeration and heating units for the transport sector. They employ 680 people. They recently invested €50m in an expansion of their plant to increase capacity and, as a result, are currently recruiting for 50 new engineering roles. “They are a really innovative company and are leading the way in technology and robotics, growing their automation skills at the plant.”

Elsewhere in the county, she said, “our client base has performed well in terms of their operational sustainability, job retention and we continue to work closely with them, supporting them in their transformation and development”.