26TH JULY, 2019

Top 10 Great Reasons To Start A Business In Ireland

When it comes to starting up a business the Republic of Ireland is a tough one to beat. With its low tax regime, innovative business culture, fascinating history and excellent infrastructure, Ireland really does have it all. Indeed, many large American brands have already set up here, including Intel, Pfizer, Microsoft, Google, Abbott and Facebook to name just a few – what better proof could you need?

Here we take a look at why exactly Ireland is such a great place to start a business, whatever industry it’s in.

English Speaking

English is the international language of business and to be able to speak English fluently is a massive advantage. Ireland is one of only two members of the Euro zone that’s English-speaking, which is a considerable draw for companies looking to locate here.

Plenty of skilled labour and low unemployment

As of March 2019, Ireland’s unemployment rate was a relatively low 5.4%. Its workforce is young, dynamic and adaptable with the country having always enjoyed a reputation for being a centre of excellence in education.


The Republic of Ireland is proud of its varied history of achievements in technology and science. The government also places high importance on investment in technological capabilities as well as research and development. A very recent example of how the country is attractive to technology companies in particular can be seen in the investments made by many of the large technology conglomerates within Ireland, including Apple which recently announced an €850 million redevelopment project of a data centre in County Galway.

Connectivity and infrastructure

Ireland has a forward-thinking approach to telecommunications solutions for businesses and has proven itself to be an important international hub for data centre development and ICT. Telecommunications services are administered by a substantial number of commercial service providers that operate within a competitive open market. Both the private and public sectors are both working to advance ambitious investment plans which will serve to further enhance Ireland’s notoriety as a leader in the ICT and telecoms sectors.

In addition to fantastic IT and communications infrastructure, Ireland also has an efficient and well-funded road and rail network. Thanks to a long period of sustained investment between 2000 and 2010 of around €13.6 billion, citizens and visitors to Ireland can now take advantage of its superior quality interurban motorway network. This not only offers safe and convenient travel for the public but also for the efficient and reliable movement of freight. Indeed, investment is set to continue under the National Development Plan with an additional €6.6 billion to be spent on the country’s road network by 2027.

Finally (and most importantly for businesses looking to trade internationally), Ireland enjoys excellent connections by air to the rest of Europe as well as North America and Asia via its network of international airports. Dublin Airport itself offers flights to around 200 destinations in 43 countries, whilst Cork Airport has more than 50 routes and Shannon Airport serves a further 31. In addition, Dublin and Shannon Airports together boast the only US Pre-Clearance facilities in Europe, providing a distinct advantage for passengers and goods flying transatlantic.

Relief available for employing staff from abroad

Ireland offers a particularly attractive relief for employees coming to work here from overseas, called ‘SARP’ (Special Assignee Relief Programme). SARP offers income tax relief on some of the income earnt by staff who’ve been assigned to work in the country. This can be a key consideration for companies who are looking to establish a base in Ireland, as it helps facilitate certain key staff in making the move over here.

Low corporation tax rate

Ireland’s 12.5% corporate tax rate makes it one of the lowest in the world. Rather than being an incentive regime, this is the standard tax rate applicable to active companies from any sector or industry.

R&D tax credit availability

Companies that establish themselves in the Republic of Ireland can enjoy a 25% R&D tax credit which is set against their corporation tax liability for the current tax year. This credit is available to those businesses who are engaging in in-house qualifying innovation works, including buildings, plant and machinery. You can find out more about R&D tax relief for Irish companies on the Myriad Associates website.

R&D grants

Irish businesses can apply for extra financial help for research and development via a grant from Enterprise Ireland or through various European grants. There are two key sources of European R&D grant funding; Horizon 2020 and EUREKA Eurostars.

Over the last seven years, Horizon 2020 has made nearly €80 billion of grant funding available. Its primary aim is in ensuring that Europe continues to be a global leader in science, whilst removing barriers to advancement. It also makes it simpler for the private and public sectors to come together to deliver innovation effectively. You can find out more on the Horizon 2020 website.

The second way for Irish businesses to obtain grant-based funding is via EUREKA Eurostars (also supported by Enterprise Ireland). This is a European programme aimed at SMEs who are keen to be involved in research which is carried out collaboratively with partners from throughout Europe and beyond. Again, there’s plenty of information to be found on the EUREKA Eurostars website or you can take a look at the R&D grants page of  Myriad Associates

Stability post Brexit

Whilst much of the finer detail around UK-EU trade post-Brexit is still unclear, companies setting up in Ireland are in a great place to weather the storm. With its unique geographical and historic position, Ireland also has a very specific relationship with both the EU and the UK as a whole. The British government has already announced its plans to stay in the Common Transit Convention even once the Brexit process is complete, allowing Irish exports to go between Ireland and the UK to the country they’re destined for with reduced customs controls and checks. Additionally, Ireland will still enjoy the EU Free Trade agreement that currently allows businesses the freedom to trade across European borders hassle-free. Indeed, even if you put aside the benefits of cross-border trade, the Republic of Ireland is the perfect place to set up a business post-Brexit, as not only will it still be in the EU its Euro currency will eliminate exchange fees when doing business with the majority of EU member states.

Ireland is an attractive place to live

The Emerald Isle, as it’s affectionately known, is already home to just under 5 million people - and it’s not hard to see what’s made it so popular. With its strong economy and relatively low unemployment, Ireland is by enlarge a prosperous place to live. Despite its political and social troubles back in the 1980s and ‘90s, the country now enjoys peace and stability with reasonable house prices and a slightly lower cost of living in general (especially when compared to London).

Ireland also boasts a good education system, with a broad range of excellent colleges and universities. Its long and fascinating history combined with strong family and religious values exist in harmony alongside its diverse modern culture.

Ireland is forward-thinking, innovative and very business-friendly; what better place could there be to live and work?

Tax Cloud calculator

Why not use our handy Tax Cloud calculator to see how much tax relief your Irish business could claim? Designed and developed by Myriad Associates, the calculator will guide you through the claims process quickly and simply, saving you time, effort and hassle.

If you would like to know more or have a question about any aspect of R&D tax credits or accounting for businesses located in Ireland, why not speak to one of our experts on +353 1 556 2001 or use our contact page.

Barrie Dowsett, ACMA, GCMA
Author Barrie Dowsett, ACMA, GCMA CEO, Tax Cloud
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Myriad Associates helps businesses maximise tax credits and secure R&D grant funds. We specialise in R&D Tax Credits, Enterprise Ireland grants.

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Meet some of the team behind Tax Cloud

Barrie Dowsett Barrie Dowsett ACMA CGMA Chief Executive Officer
David Farbey David Farbey MA, FISTC, FRSA Technical Consultancy Director
Lisa Waller Lisa Waller CTA, ACCA R&D Tax Manager
Lauren Olson Lauren Olson MA, MISTC Senior Technical Consultant