Waterford may be Ireland’s oldest city, but it is still modern, vibrant and attracting inward investment.
This year is already off to a positive start in Waterford city with the granting of planning permission for the €180mn flagship dairy processing facility that Glanbia have planned for an IDA Ireland site in Belview, adjacent to the Port of Waterford. IDA Ireland is also planning an expansion of the existing Business & Technology Park in Waterford. These plans include the development of 25,000sq ft of new offices, which will include an advanced technology building of 2,348sqm.
These new developments are the result of significant capital investment which has taken place in Waterford over the last number of years, creating the right environment to attract further private sector investment.
Infrastructure and workforce
Waterford has a proven track record of attracting inward investment and is home to a mix of successful international and indigenous companies across a variety of sectors including pharmaceutical, medical devices, financial and shared services. Dominic Carolan, senior vice-president of manufacturing with Genzyme, notes: “One of the reasons we chose Waterford was because there was an established cluster of pharmaceutical and healthcare companies in the region, so we knew the skill set was there.” This cluster in Waterford includes multinationals such as TEVA, Arkopharma, GlaxoSmithKline, Bausch+Lomb, and indigenous companies including EirGen Pharma, Microbush and Pinewood Healthcare.
The services sector is also growing with international financial services companies such as Sun Life Financial, Swiss Financial Services and Citi Hedge Fund Services operating in Waterford and supporting a worldwide client base.
Given that Waterford offers low levels of corporation tax at 12.5%, it is likely that the city’s ability to attract multinationals will continue. Modern transport infrastructure also makes Waterford easily accessible, with travel times from Dublin Airport of under two hours, and direct access to Waterford Airport from the United Kingdom. The port of Waterford is the most modern port in Ireland and also the nearest Irish port to mainland Europe.
Waterford also provides access to a well-educated, young and dynamic labour force, with 235,000 living in the wider region. Many of these are graduates from the Waterford Institute of Technology, which is a university level institution with over 10,000 students and 1,000 staff. For new businesses establishing in Waterford, the city offers many attractions, including a mix of property solutions from fully serviced strategic sites to high-spec office space with access to resilient dark fibre suitable for internationally traded services.
As a city, Waterford is known internationally for Waterford Crystal, which has been manufactured in the city since 1783. The modern House of Waterford Crystal continues to manufacture prestige pieces in a modern manufacturing facility in the heart of the city. Their showrooms, which house the world’s largest display of Waterford Crystal, attract over 200,000 visitors annually.
While the House of Waterford Crystal is at the centre of Waterford’s tourist offering, significant local investment in Waterford’s Viking Triangle has helped create a world-class tourist attraction, with three new museums documenting Waterford’s rich history from the Viking age to the modern era along with a wealth of other attractions and an annual programme of festivals which bring the streets alive throughout the year. The Viking Triangle has been developed following considerable investment and a new collaboration between public and private sector interests and is the cornerstone of the long term strategy to make Waterford a competitive city destination and also an anchor attraction for the region.
All this means that Waterford is well placed to celebrate the city’s role as Ireland’s oldest city when it celebrates its 1,100 birthday in 2014.
*This article was originally published in Doing Business in Ireland 2013.