News & Events

Speech by An Tánaiste Frances Fitzgerald at Theravance investment announcement

1 Burlington Road, Dublin 4, Wednesday 1st November 2017

Good morning everyone.

It’s a pleasure to join you all here today for what is a very significant announcement and I was delighted to have the opportunity to meet Rick and   Anne to hear of your exciting plans.  

I’m delighted Theravance BioPharma is establishing a technical, finance and commercial operation here in Ballsbridge, initially employing 30 high-skilled employees. I understand the new offices will serve as Theravance BioPharma’s corporate headquarters and I hope that the company will continue to flourish and expand in Ireland.

When Biopharmaceuticals first emerged some years ago, we identified it as the growth area for the future in the Pharma industry. The biopharma industry now makes a huge contribution to the Irish economy in terms of jobs and manufacturing exports, and is one of the fastest growing sectors. Over 28,000 people currently work in biopharma here.

This level of Foreign Direct Investment has been of key importance to Ireland’s development and economic growth for decades. Overseas companies here have created jobs and opportunities, export tens of billions worth of goods and services annually, contributed to Government revenues and supported innovation across nearly every part of the economy.

We have been attracting the best quality FDI as noted by IBM’s Global Locations Trends Report for 2016.  Ireland was ranked first for the quality of FDI for the sixth year in a row, highlighting our continued ability to attract high-value investment projects in key sectors, especially Life Sciences.

It is not by chance that we have so many of the top Pharma companies here. The Irish State has sought to attract the best companies globally through a series of solid and consistent policies and through the hard work by officials in IDA and elsewhere in the public service.

We have developed our education system to produce more quality graduates for our growing high-tech sectors.  The Government is helping to drive interest in Science and in the STEM area to ensure that we can supply the skilled staff which the Life Sciences sector needs.

And we are succeeding in laying the seeds for sustainable growth and tackling many issues, especially in restoring our competitiveness.  

Yesterday [Tuesday October 31st] the World Bank published its annual Ease of Doing Business report for 2018. Ireland has improved one place in the World Bank ranking and is ranked 17th out of 190 economies and 4th in the Euro area in terms of Ease of Doing Business.

Ireland’s top 20 ranking shows that relative to many Euro area economies, Ireland has comparatively simple administrative procedures, a low burden of regulation, a straightforward licensing system and an enterprise environment conducive to doing business.

As Tanaiste and Minister for Business, Enterprise & Innovation, I will be seeking to build on that progress in the coming years.

I also want to ensure that Science and Innovation are right up there among the Government’s top priorities.

We want to move up the value chain and be able to embrace and support new technologies. Innovation 2020, which sets out our five year strategy for research and development, science and technology, includes a roadmap to deliver on the vision for Ireland to become a global innovation leader.

We have been making progress. Ireland has climbed the international scientific rankings for the quality of its research from a position of 36th in 2003 to 10th in 2016. Strengths have emerged in niche fields, with world rankings of 2nd in nanotechnology, immunology and animal and dairy; 3rd in materials science; 4th in agricultural sciences and 5th in chemistry.

Through substantial investment from Government and industry, 17 SFI Research Centres have been established that are focused on strategic areas of importance to Ireland, with a focus on delivering scientific excellence with economic and societal impact.  Each SFI Research Centre spans several Higher Education Institutions and collaborates with multiple industry partners. Centres of relevance to the pharma sector include:

  • SSPC – Synthesis and Solid Pharmaceutical Centre
  • APC – Microbiome Institute
  • Future Neuro  - Neurological Diseases Research Centre
  • INFANT – Irish Centre for Fetal and Neonatal Translational Research
  • Centre for Research in Medical Devices - CÚRAM


We are very appreciative of Theravance BioPharma’s decision to locate here. All the indications are that your company has a tremendous future ahead of it and we want to contribute to and be part of that success. When this current facility has bedded down, we are confident that you will like what Ireland has to offer. We will of course be very happy to discuss any further developments that you may wish to pursue.

There’s no doubting that Ireland’s headline economic figures are good. We’ve now had several years of sustained economic and employment growth. Unemployment is down from a high over 15% to 6.1%. Tax receipts are at an all-time high. Consumer spending and construction are recovering well.

BUT…we cannot be complacent. There are new risks to the economy as we reach full employment, new constraints on our infrastructure. As our former Finance Minister Michael Noonan predicted many years ago, they are the problems of a growing rather than a contracting economy.

We also have external challenges such as Brexit but we will work through them in the months and years ahead -

  • We will remain part of the single market with all the advantages that brings for companies which are based here.
  • We will remain an English speaking country in the Eurozone.
  • We will continue to offer a stable and transparent legal and taxation regime.
  • We will continue to provide a pro-business environment which is mutually beneficial for investing companies and for indigenous companies alike.


But back to today. I would like to thank you for your commitment to Ireland and I am sure your investment here will be well returned in the years ahead.

I wish you every success.

Thank you.