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A new report published by ICT Ireland* claims Ireland is still an attractive location for foreign direct investment.

The study, which was released by the IBEC group on Monday, sets out why many major foreign investors believe Ireland is an attractive location in which to do business. The report, entitled Why Ireland should be your location of choice, is aimed at decision makers in major foreign businesses and details the positive experiences of multi-nationals operating in Ireland with first-hand accounts from the heads of their Irish operations.

The survey found that 83,000 people currently work in the IT sector in Ireland, with over half of these holding a third-level qualification. The report, which was produced alongside a report on the pharma-chemical sector, found that the two sectors export products worth €70bn.

"As companies in Ireland face the challenges of an increasingly competitive global market, the close relationship with government, tertiary institutes, and research centres has helped companies expand from core manufacturing to include marketing and R&D activities. This has been crucial to securing existing investment and is the key to attracting major new investment in the years ahead," said Lionel Alexander, chair of ICT Ireland.

The report cites the benefits Ireland offers multinational firms, such as a low corporate tax rate, a steady supply of third level graduates and a young workforce.

The study also used testimonials from executives from multinationals working in Ireland. According to IDA Ireland figures from 2006 there are around 210 foreign-owned firms based in the IT sector in Ireland.

"If you can solve complex global problems in one location, you are adding value to your business and customer. That location is Ireland; with its melting pot of languages, culture and know-how," said John Herlihy, European director of Online Sales and Operations with Google, in the report.

The ICT Ireland study also cited the Index of Economic Freedom survey, which was carried out by the Wall Street Journal and the Heritage Foundation to rank European countries in terms of economic freedom. The report showed Ireland came second in Europe, with only the UK receiving a better rating.

"The combination of good people and a great business environment has helped us to continue to innovate both in terms of our business operations and in the area of core research and development," said Joe Macri, managing director of Microsoft Ireland, in the study.

Other IT companies which contributed to the report include HP, Intel, Dell, Ericsson, IBM, Iona, Analog Devices, and Oracle.

© 2007 ENN

* Although ICT is a banned term here on The Register we've let this one through because it's a company name. If you like, you can imagine it as I*T Ireland.

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