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Ireland Is Quickly Becoming The Silicon Valley Of Europe

MOUNTAIN VIEW (KPIX 5) - The luck of the Irish is only one of the factors attracting many Silicon Valley tech companies to the country.

Many tech giants including Apple, Facebook, and Google have called Ireland their European home for years. But IDA Ireland, the country's promotion agency, says it is seeing record levels of investment from the U.S.

"So the large technology companies that are here in the Valley and San Francisco are continuing to double down on their presence there, but Ireland is also becoming the go-to location for the next wave of fast-growing international companies," said Paraic Hayes, the Senior Vice President of IDA Ireland West Coast U.S.

IDA Ireland says there are 700 U.S. companies with offices in Ireland--about a third of those come from Silicon Valley. In the last three years, the agency has seen a 25 percent increase in West Coast companies expanding to Ireland.

"Ireland has a low tax policy going back decades, and we continue to do so, but I think taxes is one of many reasons why companies make a move and really, what I think we're seeing with the level of investment of teams moving to Ireland is generally talent," said Hayes.

Hayes says Ireland has had free education going back decades. And as part of the EU, it has access to a talent pool of 250 million people. Its immigration laws are also viewed as pro-business.

Steve McElfresh says in 2014, he helped open up an office in Ireland for San Francisco-based software company New Relic in about six months, with great ease.

"We found the location, we built out the location, we brought them all over for training and in that process never set foot in Ireland," said McElfresh.

Today, McElfresh consults fast-growth startups as the founder of HR Futures.

"It's simply easy to do business. The restrictions on how you work together in terms of labor regulations and the like are pretty comfortable for an American. As opposed to much of the continent, the costs are quite reasonable," he added.

IDA Ireland says because of the uncertainty of Brexit, another 40 U.S. companies have chosen to expand to Ireland in the last two years.

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