Ireland, known for hosting multinationals such as Google, Intel and Apple as well as Indian IT majors like TCS, Wipro, and Infosys, is now looking to be the gateway to Europe for smaller Indian companies and start-ups eyeing global markets, especially the Continent.

“We attract a lot of big brands, but we also want to attract technology companies that are internationalising for the first time,” Martin Shanahan, CEO of IDA Ireland, the state agency responsible for attracting foreign direct investment to the country, told BusinessLine .

Diversifying sources

He said Ireland would be welcoming of companies that may be not large but have reached the stage where they want to expand into Europe. “For them Ireland should be their first port to call...”

According to Shanahan, Ireland which has for last several decades bet on FDI from North America, the US mainly, is now focussed on diversifying its sources, by attracting investments from the Asia-Pacific region, including India and China.

“In 2014, 72 per cent of our investment was coming from the US, and now it is 65 per cent while investment from APC grew 14 per cent last year,” Shanahan said.

Investments from India into Ireland have also gone up significantly, he added, with number of Indian companies investing in Ireland increasing from 15 in 2011 to over 60 today.

“I think we are also spreading out in terms of sectors, initially a lot of it was business services and technology but I am hoping we will see particularly more pharmaceutical investments from this region. These are the sector where we are focusing own,” Shanahan said.

According to him, India and China are “neck in neck” in terms of investments into Ireland with India winning with respect to number of companies although behind slightly behind when it comes to the FDI value.

Brexit impact

Shanahan, who is currently in India to meet existing and prospective investors who are concerned about UK exiting the Eurozone next month, said Brexit will not have any impact on the business environment for foreign companies in Ireland as the country remains a part of European Union.

According to him, while Ireland’s economy will definitely be impacted by Brexit, especially in case it happens “without a deal” (without the withdrawal agreement negotiated with the EU being ratified by UK parliament by March, 29), the country stands to gain from Brexit as far as FDI is concerned.