Speaking at the IDA D2 headquarters at the announcement of their mid-year results, Varadkar said his new job as Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment is to lead the country through the economic crisis and to get businesses open and people back to work.
“I don’t think any of us could have foreseen the enormous economic upheaval that COVID-19 would inflict on virtually every part of our society and our economy,” he said.
“Our country has been through a period without precedent in the history of our State.
“Lives were lost, businesses were closed, and it took a terrible toll on our families, our communities and our country. And, it’s not over yet,” he said.
However, he said that confidence is slowly coming back as businesses reopen.
The July Jobs Stimulus Package will be radical and far-reaching, he said.
Other actions are under consideration, such as:
• An improved restart grant to help businesses that are reopening,
• Reductions in business taxes and commercial rates,
• An enhanced Restart Grant,
• Access to low-cost loans,
• Targeted life-sciences investment,
• Export guarantees, and
• Extending the TWSS.
This will be followed in October by the National Economic Plan, to chart out a longer term, jobs-led recovery, which will be published on the same day as the Budget.
“I expect the Economic Plan will include a major reskilling programme, policies to promote balanced regional development, and it will emphasise the importance of attracting and sustaining foreign direct investment.
“We will exploit the rise of remote working and the investment in the National Broadband Plan to exploit this potential,” he said.
The IDA’s mid-year results show:
• 132 new investments,
• More than 60 outside Dublin, and
• 10,000 new jobs.
40% fall in investment flows
However, the UN Conference on Trade and Development has estimated that global investment flows may fall by 40% in 2020 and 2021.
The global market for FDI will become even more competitive, with the same number of countries competing for a much smaller pie, the minister said.
The next wave of investment flows will be digital and carbon neutral, he concluded.