Leading US companies stay loyal to Ireland

Four multinational technology firms have promised that they will remain loyal to their Irish operations despite the country's dire financial straits and rock-bottom economy.

Four multinational technology firms have promised that they will remain loyal to their Irish operations despite the country's dire financial straits and rock-bottom economy.

Management at eBay, Intel, Google and Cisco voiced confidence in Ireland's future during a meeting with Irish MEP Sean Kelly in California this week.

The Fine Gael MEP, who travelled to Silicon Valley to attend the 69th EU-US Inter-parliamentary Meeting, said he was reassured by senior executives from the four firms of their loyalty to their Irish operations.

"Management at these firms have only the highest regard for Ireland. Cisco specifically pointed out that one of the biggest attractions Ireland holds in business terms is a highly educated workforce with a good work ethic. I am confident that these companies will continue to develop their bases at home and provide vital employment," said Mr Kelly.

The four companies employ a total of almost 9,000 people across the country. Intel is the largest employer, with 4,500 staff at its plant in Leixlip, County Kildare and a further 200 working in Shannon, County Clare.

About 2,000 people work for Google in Dublin city, while eBay employs over 1,600 at its base in Blanchardstown. More than two hundred people are employed by Cisco Systems in Dublin and in Oranmore, County Galway.

Mr Kelly added that executives from Google and eBay did not express any concern over a perceived threat from some EU countries to Ireland's low corporate tax rate of 12.5 per cent. "They were concerned only about a proposal to decrease the current US corporation tax rate from 39 per cent to 25 per cent."

Mr Kelly was the sole Irish representative to attend the meeting in his role as a member of the European Parliament's Committee with responsibility for US relations. He travelled economy class to the States.