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Image courtesy of Antpkr at freedigitalphotos.net

This may look like a Triple-Irish cocktail of contradictions when one doubts entrepreneurship fizzing out or fears tax-sops-olives not stirring the glass much. But Brian from Ireland is sure raising a cheers-ful toast to optimism, buoyancy and investments. Let's smell why?

BANGALORE, INDIA: This month India played host to a special Irish contingent. Richard Bruton TD, Ireland's Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, and his joint delegation visited officials from key Indian companies.  As they fleshed out trade and investment talks and inbound and outbound FDI policy between Ireland and India; many questions and handshakes hobnobbed.

So while IDA Ireland, Ireland's government agency responsible for inward FDI bagged two Indian business wins with cloud-computing firm Aditi Technologies and Synowledge, a player in drug safety, regulatory affairs, biometrics, clinical, and IT related solutions; Ireland became an ingredient for many conversations around IT industry's passport to new business expansion opportunities.

Bruton TD tagged India as a crucial trading partner for Ireland citing how the trade between both the countries reached an all-time high of 2.3 billion in 2012, a 24 per cent increase from 2011. Ireland on a parallel vein, is labelled as a tempting destination too for Indian business suitcases (And briefcases may be) with a corporation tax rate of 12.5 per cent, an English-speaking and knowledge-intensive talent and strategic location advantage.

Borbgorymus aside, there is another set of noise in the earshot when we hear about these tax incentives running the chance of nearing a dead-end of sorts or Dublin-facilities being rolled down for Lufthansa Technik Airmotive Ireland (LTAI) or job aisles apprehended to be narrowing dangerously at retail major Barratts's Ireland set-up. What's interesting though is that as one may read about job losses on one side, the news is sooner or later juxtaposed with announcements like hundreds of jobs being created at Dublin's Deutsche bank branch or expansion plans of recruitment firms like Indeed.

Or this- The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) recently reported a 'European thaw' citing that Ireland and Spain are indicating notable improvement signs in the commercial property market. The Occupier Sentiment Index (OSI) could not be timed better with the backdrop of a negative reading for Ireland in the second quarter, but the same has seen a fresh spin with the third quarter results as more positive and Ireland coming third to UAE and Japan in terms of positive occupier sentiment.

Is Ireland really worth the travel and the baggage then? Would the promise on tax and policy encouragement sustain over the horizon or better still, can it offer more rainbows beyond such turbulent rebates, as many criticize them to be? Can bigger things like overall ecosystem, market dynamics and infrastructure stay friends and not just a pleasant bar acquaintance?

Indeed, the questions oscillate between aporia and skepticism. It is after all up to companies and their bucks that are going to give the real verdict at the end of the day. HCL Technologies, Wipro, Wockhardt, Reliance, Ranbaxy, Crompton Greaves, Ranbaxy, DQ Entertainment, Tata Consultancy Services, ArisGlobal and Firstsource etc. notching an employment-count of 3000 professionals are a clear glimpse of what can beckon Indian IT to the picturesque land with more than a P.S. I Love You sentimentality. And looks like there's may be much more to clink beyond that famous Irish beer glass here. Why not pop the cork with Brian Conroy, Director, Asia Pacific, IDA Ireland and ask him instead?

If you were to iterate the promising sight of Ireland for Indian companies, as of today - what would you mention?

It is the only English speaking country in the Euro zone with multi-lingual capabilities and you can see how Google services over 60 languages from its center in Dublin. There is access to a talented and young workforce - Over 50 per cent of Ireland's population is under 35 and over 60 per cent of students go on to higher education. Then there is free movement of Labor in the EU allows companies access to 500m skilled labor pool and and non-European internationals can be recruited if necessary because of the streamlined visa programme. Think of low business taxes with a favourable rate for Corporation Tax and an established base for overseas investment over many years and a convenient time zone (4.5 hours behind) and you know what pegs Ireland as a link location for the USA and India.


What else- from an investment point of view?

 

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