Technological Advantages: The testimony to the growing stature of Ireland as a technology hub is the rising number of outsourcing projects that the country lands. Ireland is now competing with such developing nations as India in garnering a share of the Knowledge Processing jobs. With a growing pool on technically skilled workers who are also competent in the universal language English, the country is a favourite destination for many North American and European off-shore projects (Ireland in 2004). This trend can only become stronger in the immediate future and it won’t be long before Ireland overtakes the rest of Europe in attracting FDI from North American corporations.
Environmental Conditions: While technological advancement is a key factor in Ireland’s success, a less known fact is the revival of its natural environment. In fact, as opposed to undermining the ecology, the Irish have channelled modern technology toward conserving their environment. A case in point is the incentives offered by the government for corporations that conform to water and air pollution limits. Agriculture, which was the traditional way of livelihood in Ireland, has also been brought under the purview of these conservation measures. The Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS) that was introduced in the 1990’s symbolizes Irish government’s foresight. Farmers are also rewarded for their role in ecological conservation and also for adopting organic farming practices. For instance, “Supplementary REPS payments are also available to farmers, designed to deliver specific environmental outcomes, mainly: the protection of wildlife habitats; long-term set aside for riparian zones; conservation of local livestock breeds; and to promote organic farming. Almost a third of farmers in 2005 who undertook supplementary measures chose the organic farming option.” (OECD Country Trends, 2008)
Legal Factors: Special legislations and favourable taxations were enacted to encourage environmentally sound farming practices. The National Action Programme under the Nitrates Directive (brought forth in 2005) is one such measure. Hence, we can infer, that the prevailing legal framework in Ireland has had also played a significant role in the nation’s success, as it had encouraged flow of FDI funds.
Conclusion: It could be emphatically stated that Ireland had broken free from its oppressive past and is heading toward a future of economic prosperity and social harmony. Due to the aforementioned favourable political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legal conditions, the country has become a favourite for foreign investors and attracts substantial FDI. Hundreds of multinational companies have set up their bases in Ireland in anticipation of its growing stature within the EU in particular and the world markets in general. However, to fulfil the faith kept by investors abroad, the country needs to focus more on some infrastructural issues. This would entail creating a fast and reliable telecommunications network, ensuring electricity supply to the new industries and increasing the pool of skilled workers to meet greater demand. If these issues are taken care of, then Ireland can compensate for some of its inherent disadvantages and can truly claim its place in the world.