The "Job Creation" Industry.

Ireland is a country were the idea of “job creation” is central to thinking and policy. The idea that product creation creates jobs is something that, while enjoying some policy and financial support, does not command the resources available to the traditional “job creation” strategy. This traditional strategy has created a number of anomalies that companies coming to Ireland should be aware of.

The excuse for their Existence.

The Irish State agencies responsible for “job creation” have a system for assessing their effectiveness that involves taking the credit for all of the jobs and exports created by the companies they are involved with.

To give an indigenous example:

John Citizen gets an idea for a business and mortgages his house and risks everything he owns to start the business. He employs, say, 20 people. The man from Irish State agencies knocks on the door and tells John that they can give him €500 towards a new catalogue. John says "thanks very much" and signs the mountain of paperwork. The man from the Irish State agencies goes to his boss and they add the 20 jobs to the “number of jobs in IDA/Enterprise Ireland supported projects”. They also add the exports created by John Citizen’s company to “exports created by IDA/Enterprise Ireland supported projects.” And where did the €500 come from? Probably the EU. And John Citizen had been foolish enough to think that he had created the jobs and exports!

In the case of foreign companies:

When it comes to foreign companies who relocate to Ireland the numbers are truly impressive. In its 2009 annual report IDA takes the credit as follows:


Needless to say these companies make their decision to come to Ireland based on an assessment of location, infrastructure, labour costs, taxation and the profits that these factors can generate not because IDA talk them into it.
In short any company that gets involved with the Irish State Agencies be it in the form of grants from EU funds or Irish state aid or renting an IDA advance factory, is considered an “IDA Client Company” or an “Enterprise Ireland Client company”. So IDA can then boast that “IDA client companies have created X number of jobs or X amounts of exports” as if IDA had something to do with their performance. No effort is made to assess how many companies would have come to Ireland if there was no IDA. Also no effort is made to assess how many companies have left Ireland because of IDA. Thus the effectiveness or otherwise of IDA is unknown.

IDA’s PR machine is well financed and very slick and the organisation’s is expert at taking credit for all manner of things that have nothing to do with them. This organisation will take the credit if the sun shines.Taking the Credit for a Great Country.

This taking of credit for other peoples work is not confined to these agencies but also confers credit onto their political masters see: Taking the Credit for other peoples workThe only jobs that these agencies create with 100% certainty are their own jobs. Putting these numbers together each year is something they take very seriously.


Ireland is currently coming to terms with the aftermath of an expensive and disastrous attempt to decentralise its civil service. The negatave effects of this effort are now well recognized by the Irish public. The fact that the country has been doing the same thing to its industrial infrastructure for decades is not recognized. When companies are located in the middle of nowhere because the local member of parliament has the required political clout and the project fails the traditional public perception is : “These foreign companies coming over here and getting all the grants and when they have gotten all the grants then they do a runner”.

Geographically Ireland is an island at the edge of Europe but its political class seems determined to increase any geographic disadvantage by playing politics with factory locations. So when you relocate your factory to Ireland do your own research and pay no attention to what you are told is a good or bad location by the Irish State Agencies.

This political disease seems to know no bounds. Indeed there is reason to believe that the decision to locate of Irelands new National Children’s Hospital to a totally unsuitable site in the middle of Dublin city with serious access problems and vast costs was motivated by the fact that the site was in the constituency of the Prime Minister of the day. Is this the true depth of our political depravity? These forces are enormous in Ireland. Be aware!

The Players.

IDA Ireland

This is the senior member of the Job Creation Industry (JCI). The First IDA was founded in 1949 and the name has been used by two different organizations over the past 20 years. These are the Industrial Development Authority and the Industrial Development Agency. The Industrial Development Agency (the current manifestation) does not necessarily consider itself legally or honour bound by agreements entered into by the Industrial Development Authority. This to spite that fact that the two organizations share the same personal, premises, telephone numbers and logo. The Willie Holt story on this site seems to demonstrate that IDA operates in an ethical vacuum and that their business ethics are based on plausible deniability and what they judge that can legally get away with. Academic research has shown that most conflicts between IDA and companies are real-estate related. In fact it would seem that when it comes to job losses as a result of conflicts with IDA all roads lead to the IDA property division.

Enterprise Ireland

Enterprise Ireland is effectively the IDA for Irish people. Their motto is “Transforming Irish Industry” and they have certainly done that. If you are Irish or a member of the Irish Diaspora and you get involved with the JCI this is the organization you will spend a lot of time talking to. The tape recording included in the Willie Holt story on this site will give you a clear insight into what that is like.
Enterprise Irelands tentacles reach into all aspects of the Irish Economy giving the organization enormous power to decide who succeeds and who does not. This power is further increased by the fact that the organization controls the distribution of huge amounts of EU tax payer’s money and by the fact that the organization also has the power to block the approval of BES tax avoidance schemes. These people are very powerful.

Others parts of the JCI

While IDA and Enterprise Ireland are the main players in the JCI there also exists a plethora of other organizations involved in this folly. They include: Shannon Development which is a sort of Enterprise Ireland for the Shannon Region. This was set up as Shannon Free Airport Development Company by the Irish Government in 1959 to promote an airport and region in the west of Ireland. In perhaps the most famous example of politicans perverting development airplanes were forced to land in Shannon in order to be allowed to cross Irish airspace or even fly from New York to Dublin! The State has been attempting to get rid of the this organization for some time but fears local reaction so it has contented itself with the stealthy transfer of many of its functions to Enterprise Ireland. Shannon Development remains a major industrial landlord. Then there is the 35 County & City Enterprise Boards (CEBs). Which are a sort of Enterprise Ireland for businesses with 10 employees or less. CEBs claim to provide direct grant-support to new and existing enterprises and promote entrepreneurship, capacity building and women-in-business at local level, to micro enterprises in the commercial sphere. The CEBs claim to be uniquely positioned to understand local needs and know the background and track record of those applying for support and assistance. Which presumably means that Enterprise Ireland is not.

There is also Údarás na Gaeltachta which deals with areas where the Irish language is spoken.


Ireland is an unusual country in that the State has become involved in “job creation” to an extent that has only been seen elsewhere in Europe in the old East Block. The Job Creation Industry (JCI) has created a number of perversions to normal capitalism. For example if an enterprise makes an invention that allows it to make the number of products it can sell with half the workforce such an enterprise will come into conflict with the job creation system and be financially penalized. They will be penalized for failing to “create” the promised jobs. In a normal capitalist system a company will be rewarded for making more product with less people but in Ireland the JCI has contrived to make the opposite the case. Innovative companies will only avoid financial penalties if the company can sell twice as much product and therefore not lose any “created ”jobs. Selling more product is more difficult than making more product and selling any extra capacity available from increased efficiency takes time to feed trough. So de facto companies will be financially penalized by the JCI. The JCI also has the nasty habit of locating industries to the constituencies of powerful politicians and subsequently penalising the companies for failing to achieve the promised “job creation” performance even if half the workforce has had to be brought in from Poland. It is easy to explain the simpler ways in which the JCI has perverted Ireland’s development and has handicapped the county’s natural industrial development. Sadly the obvious side effects of the system are by no means the most damaging. The way in which the JCI has contrived to prostitute Ireland’s true potential by creating a country where Industry is a lodger that pays little rent and will depart if not pampered is very subtle and the true damage is incalculable.

Do you have experience or insights into this phenomena that you feel would help companies survive? If so please use the comments link below. We will be happy to add useful information and insights.