DUBLIN — For the first time on record, multinational corporations in Ireland last year produced more gross-value-added (GVA) than all other parts of the economy put together.
According to the Central Statistics Office (CSO), “sectors where foreign-owned multinational enterprises are dominant grew by 23.1 per cent,” pushing their share of GVA from around 45 per cent in 2019 to almost 53 per cent in 2020.
But, with Ireland’s government imposing some of Europe’s longest-lasting pandemic restrictions, domestic-focused sectors, including construction, farming and retail, shrank by almost 9 per cent.
The CSO said in June that around three-quarters of Ireland’s smaller enterprises reported falling turnover last year.
Ireland’s relatively low corporation tax of 12.5 per cent and its positioning inside the vast European Union market have made it a magnet for multinationals, particularly from the US.
The likes of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google and Intel have European or regional headquarters in or around Dublin, while pharmaceutical and medical giants such as Pfizer and Boston Scientific have long-established operations across the island.
The pandemic and related curbs spurred demand for medical products, as well as for computers and online services, as millions of people worked from home.
Ireland’s gross domestic product (GDP) expanded by almost 3.4 per cent last year, largely due to exports of such goods and services by multinationals.
Ireland’s CSO uses several measures of economic performance, including GVA, due to the deep footprint left by multinationals on conventional GDP numbers.