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Setting up a company in Ireland – the ‘why?’ and the ‘how?’

Setting up a company in Ireland – the ‘why?’ and the ‘how?’

For many years now, international companies have been choosing Ireland as their location of choice in Europe.

Ireland is home to:

  • 9 out of 10 of the world’s leading technology and internet companies
  • 8 out of 10 of the world’s leading online game companies and platforms
  • 8 out of 10 of the world’s leading Pharmaceutical companies
  • 15 of the top 20 of the world’s leading Life Science companies
  • Over half the world’s leading Financial Services firms

Some of the world’s biggest names in pharma, finance and tech – Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook, PayPal, SAP, IBM, Intel, Microsoft (including LinkedIn), Dell, Hewlett Packard, Boston Scientific, Medtronic, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, Abbott Laboratories, Merck & Co, Stryker Instruments, Citi, and State Street – all have major operations here.

But it’s not just global giants who reap the benefits with many smaller firms setting up shop on Europe’s most western outpost. We look at the major factors drawing business to these shores and give you a quick rundown on the steps required to set up your business here.

Talent in abundance

Close to a third of Ireland’s population is under 25, making it the youngest population in Europe. According to the IMD World Competitive Yearbook 2018, Ireland is ranked number one worldwide for the adaptability and flexibility of the workforce and in labour productivity and efficiency. It is ranked fifth for attracting and retaining talent, and for having a third level education system that meets the needs of the economy.

An ecosystem of support

Establishing a presence in Ireland is very straightforward – it helps that it’s one of the most open economies in the world.  There are many agencies to assist foreign companies setting up here. One such agency is IDA Ireland, which provides advice, grants, and infrastructure and location finding assistance to companies relocating here. It recently reported that it has over 1,450 clients, who employ in excess 230,000 people throughout Ireland.

We speak your language – any language

Ireland’s value proposition as a strategic, English-speaking entry point to the wealthiest and largest economic bloc in the world is set to become more important than ever. We are certainly blessed with the gift of conversation, and with the UK leaving the EU in March, we are set to become the only English-speaking EU member state.


According to the last Census here, there are 612,018 people in Ireland, or 13 percent of the overall population, who are multilingual. This is crucial for companies looking to enter the European market, as English fluency, as well as foreign language proficiency, are essential to do business with European companies.

Infrastructure and an eye towards the future

Successive governments have developed an open, business friendly economy, investing heavily in Ireland’s infrastructure.

As more and more firms move to these shores, the Irish Government has looked to ensure that the country will develop socially and economically alongside its economic growth. Project Ireland 2040 consists of the new National Development Plan, and a new National Planning Framework outlining a strategic framework for the growth of cities and regional areas in Ireland. One of the key goals of Project Ireland 2040 is to attract further foreign direct investment (FDI) through establishing grants and strategic serviced sites of scale with appropriate capacity and zoning.

A gateway to Europe and the Eurozone

As a gateway to the European markets, Ireland is the ideal location for those looking for a European base. As a committed and long serving member of the EU, if offers direct access to a market of 500 million consumers.

Geographically, it is an ideal base for access to EMEA markets with strong transport links to Europe, the US and further afield. As the closest EU country to the US it also has the added advantage of being the only EU country with US immigration preclearance.

As the March deadline is approaching fast, Brexit has become a factor in all investment decisions. More than 55 companies of global standing have chosen to transfer operations to Ireland ahead of Britain’s European Union departure. These include global names like Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Barclays and surgical appliances manufacturer Steris Plc.

An advantageous tax regime

The country’s corporation tax, at 12.5 per cent is certainly a massive draw. Ireland has signed Double Taxation Agreements with 74 countries with key features that make Ireland one of the most attractive global investment locations, including an effective zero rate tax for foreign dividends and an excellent Intellectual Property (IP) regime.  Generous R&D tax credits are also available to start-ups here.

It’s obvious why, now how?

The World Bank’s Doing Business Index ranks Ireland as the 10th easiest place globally to setup a business – compare this with 19th place for the UK and 53rd place for the US.

The most commonly used corporate structure in Ireland is a Private Company Limited by Shares (LTD) or more simply a ‘Private Limited Company’. The following are the legal requirements for registration of a Private Limited Company with the Companies Registration Office in Ireland (the “CRO”):

Company Name

Your company name must be unique and clearly distinguishable from any other Irish registered companies.

At least one Company Director

The director(s) is responsible for managing the company on behalf of the shareholders. At least one director must be a resident of an EEA country.

A Company Secretary

It is the duty of the Company Secretary to assist the directors with meeting the statutory obligations of the company as prescribed in the Irish Companies Act 2014. This includes filing the Annual Returns and maintaining the statutory registers of the company. If there are two or more directors, one of these individuals can also act as the secretary. A corporate body may also be appointed as the secretary.

A Registered Office Address, a place of central administration and a place where the activities of the Company are carried on

The Registered Office Address is the legal, official address of the company. It is also necessary to state the address in the State where the company’s business will be carried on and the address from where its affairs will be administered.

Share Capital

The number of shares issued should reflect the proportionate ownership of the company. Under the Companies Act 2014, it is no longer necessary to state an authorised share capital for a company, however some companies may choose to do so.

A Company Constitution

Essentially the rules and regulations of the company, which must be compliant with the provisions of the Companies Act 2014.

Have you ambitions to expand your company into Ireland?

At Cafico International, one of our core services is establishing and managing new companies for clients. This service includes;

  • Company incorporation services
  • Procurement of professionally qualified resident directors
  • Company secretarial services and provision of a registered office
  • Management and administration services
  • Financial reporting and accounting services
  • Treasury and cash management services
  • Bank account reconciliation and administration

If you’d like to find out more about what Cafico International can do to help with your international plans please contact us here.