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Doing Business in Ireland: A Gateway to Europe that’s Open to the World

Ireland’s pro-business stance has made it a global success story in attracting foreign investment.

Ireland is an open economy that welcomes and relies on foreign direct investment (FDI). In 2021, over 275,000 people were directly employed in the multinational sector—the highest FDI employment level ever recorded in the country.[1] Foreign multinationals contribute 49% of all Irish employment taxes.[2]

Many of the world’s biggest companies have a base in Ireland, including the five largest software companies, the top five industrial automation firms, 14 of the world’s top 15 aviation lessors and 14 of the 15 biggest medical technology businesses.[3] Ireland is also a major center for domiciling and administering funds.

Ireland’s success in attracting foreign investment has been decades in the making. In our latest Doing Business Internationally webinar, Anne Flood, CSC’s country head for Global Capital Markets, and David O’Flaherty, head of AIFM for CSC Ireland, discussed the country’s role as a gateway to Europe.

Business in Ireland: an encouraging political culture

Ireland is resolutely and reliably pro-business. That manifests itself in one of the world’s most competitive corporate tax regimes, and in a wide range of government support schemes for new industrial and commercial projects. The country is particularly supportive of innovation, with a well-established tax credit system for research and development projects. That helps attract forward-thinking companies in the fields of technology, life sciences, and pharmaceuticals.

A strong legal framework protects intellectual property, and a highly educated workforce includes one of the highest proportions of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) graduates in the EU.[4]

Ireland is a committed EU member and offers tariff-free access to 450 million European consumers.

Investment in Ireland: a gateway to Europe

Ireland is an English-speaking gateway to prized European markets and a large number of global and U.S. businesses use Ireland as a hub. This has led to the development of a vast financial and corporate services sector, based primarily in Dublin.

Ireland has been attracting FDI for decades, giving it ample time to develop a wide range of effective corporate legal structures. A proactive approach means these structures evolve with the requirements of the market.

In the corporate sphere, the most common entry options for foreign investors are the private limited company and designated activity company (DAC). Private limited companies are the most popular entity because of their simplicity, flexibility, and light regulatory touch. They require just one director, have no minimum capital requirements, and can participate in a wide range of business activities.

A DAC is also a private limited company, but with a defined business function. It can list debts and securities, making it a common form of company type for special purpose vehicles (SPVs) engaged in capital market transactions.

Less common options include public limited companies and branch offices. Limited liability partnerships are tax transparent and often used for funds.

Irish funds: a popular hub for investors

Funds are hugely important to the Irish economy, and Ireland is now the largest alternative investment fund center in the world. It’s a major fund jurisdiction for U.S. managers wanting easy access to European assets and investors, and a center of excellence for the administration of funds, even when they’re domiciled elsewhere. Ireland administers 40% of the world’s alternative funds.[5]

It also offers a range of leading investment vehicles. The popular Irish collective asset-management vehicle (ICAV) is a regulated fund with high levels of investor protection. This has been joined more recently by the investment limited partnership (ILP), designed for sophisticated investors in private equity, private credit, real estate, infrastructure, and real assets.

ICAVs and ILPs are part of a full spectrum of investment vehicles that meet the needs of asset managers of all kinds. Their continual evolution keeps Ireland at the heart of the global investment community.

CSC in Ireland

CSC is a major player in the service sector that helps to make Ireland a leading destination for foreign investment. Our specialists help establish, maintain, and administer entities of all kinds. We offer an end-to-end service, including Agency services for capital markets and AIFM, Administration, and Depositary services for funds.

Ireland is a highly welcoming business environment, but it has strict rules around financial reporting, compliance, physical presence, and more. CSC can help you make the most of one of the world’s premier business hubs, opening the door to Europe’s rich potential.  

Why CSC?

CSC offers a full suite of corporate services in Ireland, from entity formation to liquidation, and everything in between.

CSC provides knowledge-based solutions for every phase of the business life cycle, helping businesses form entities, maintain compliance, execute transaction work, and support real estate, M&A, and other corporate transactions in hundreds of U.S. and international jurisdictions.

We work with some of the world’s largest banks and commercial lenders to reduce risk in their lien portfolios, improve their transaction speeds, and create a secure environment for their financial processing needs. We also provide solutions for secure real estate document preparation and recording.

We are the trusted partner for 90% of the Fortune 500® companies, nearly 10,000 law firms, and more than 3,000 financial organizations. Headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware, USA, since 1899, we are a global company capable of doing business wherever our clients are – and we accomplish that by employing experts in every business we serve. Missed this webinar? Watch it on demand and register for the full series here.

[1] Irish Government

[2] Irish Times

[3] IDA Ireland (from webinar slide Why Ireland)

[4] Ireland Central Statistics Office

[5] Private Equity News