Ireland: Country and Foreign Investment
Ireland offers an excellent business infrastructure with good telecommunications; this coupled with the widespread use of the English language, membership of the EU, and a legal system largely based on English law makes the country a very convenient and effective business base.
Dublin, the administrative capital, is also the chief business centre and has the main international airport, although Cork, with its port, and Shannon, with another international airport and the Shannon Free Zone, are also significant in business terms.
There was already a reasonably strong domestic financial sector when the International Financial Services Centre was launched in 1987 as a quasi-'offshore' development zone. The IFSC has been extremely successful, and now hosts large numbers of banks, insurance companies, securities firms and investment funds. With the IFSC, Ireland has challenged Luxembourg as an 'offshore' financial centre within the EU. However, the IFSC's fell foul of the EU's drive against 'harmful tax competition' and its favourable tax regime has had to be phased out.