IDA and Varadkar promised more than 200 jobs in one announcement. Less than a quarter materialised

Less than a quarter of 206 jobs at seven companies promised by Leo Varadkar and the IDA in October 2020 were actually delivered.

At least three of these companies don’t even have effective Irish workforces – despite claims from the taoiseach that they would create 112 jobs between them. Varadkar and the IDA said that one of the companies would create 20 new jobs in Ireland despite its main US office employing only around a dozen staff.

An IDA spokesperson told The Ditch the agency “does not inflate the number of jobs companies intend to create”.

'These jobs show that we have the right environment'

In October 2020 the then tánaiste and jobs minister Leo Varadkar, along with IDA ex-CEO Martin Shanahan, announced 206 new jobs in counties Cork, Dublin, Kildare and Sligo.

“These jobs… show that we have the right environment, across the country, to attract new and emerging high-tech companies. All of these companies have been identified as having high growth potential,” said Varadkar at the time.

Shanahan, who recently left his role at the state agency, said similar.

“Our value proposition and our agile and adaptable business environment remains intact despite the unprecedented challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic and IDA Ireland continues to compete strongly for every investment won for Ireland,” said Shanahan speaking at the October 2020 jobs launch.

The official government press release announcing the jobs – covered by the Irish Times, Silicon Republic and Irish Mail among others – claimed that 206 new roles would be created over three years by six US and one British company.

Tech firms Simple But Needed, Nulia and National Technologies were to provide 112 of these new jobs within three years, according to the October 2020 press release. The Ditch understands however these companies employ at the very most a handful of Irish-based staff.

Varadkar and Shanahan had claimed that Simple But Needed would create 20 new roles in Kildare town even though it employs only around a dozen staff at its headquarters in San Francisco.

Eliatra, Helios, Moz and ProSearch were to provide the remaining 94 jobs by October this year. Between them, however, they employ fewer than 50 staff in Ireland, according to research carried out by The Ditch.

An IDA spokesperson said these companies were “emerging entities with the intention of establishing themselves in Ireland”.

“It should be noted that progress for such entities is rarely linear and while some companies’ performance does not match expectations or plans, many other IDA investments go on to exceed the announced job numbers,” said the spokesperson.

“Recent CSO data,” according to the spokesperson, “shows that, despite the difficulties being experienced by some companies, the level of employment rose to more than 2.62 million, up some 100,000 from a year ago, an increase of just over four percent.”

Varadkar declined to comment.

The Ditch editors

The Ditch editors