What We Do

Investment screening

‘Investment screening’ refers to a procedure allowing the State to assess, investigate, authorise, condition or prohibit foreign direct investments based on a range of security and public order criteria. The department is responsible for implementing the EU regulation “establishing a framework for the screening of foreign direct investments into the Union”. It acts as Ireland’s National Contact Point for cooperation with the European Commission and with other EU Member States on investment screening matters. The Investment Screening Unit can be contacted at investmentscreening@enterprise.gov.ie.

The EU regulation

The EU Investment Screening Regulation applies from 11 October 2020. The regulation is a response to the growing concerns amongst Member States about the purchase of strategic European companies by foreign-owned firms from third countries.

The regulation creates a European framework for screening foreign direct investment where there are concerns that an investment may pose a risk to security or public order in the host Member State, or to other Member States. This framework is intended as a cooperation mechanism through which Member States and the European Commission can exchange information and raise specific concerns about a foreign direct investment from third countries on security or public order grounds.

The Annex to the regulation contains a list of EU projects and programmes of particular interest from an investment screening perspective. This Annex is kept under review to ensure it remains up to date. In this context, the Annex has been revised, and from 23 December 2021, new sectoral projects and programmes under the new Multiannual Financial Framework for the period between 2021 and 2027 are included.

In October 2023, the Commission published the third Annual Report on the application of the Screening Regulation, summarising trends and figures on FDI into the EU, legislative developments in Member States, and screening activities by Member States currently operating a screening mechanism.

The Regulation is subject to an evaluation by the European Commission in October 2023. To inform this exercise, the Commission commissioned the OECD to undertake an analysis of the effectiveness and efficiency of the EU framework for cooperation, as established by the Regulation. The OECD report is available at Assessing effectiveness and efficiency (PDF). A public consultation exercise was conducted by the Commission as part of this review. 

Details on the consultation are available from Screening of FDI – evaluation and possible revision of the current EU framework.

Related documents

Full text of the Investment Screening Regulation, revised Annex, Commission Factsheet and related reports

Overview of EU FDI Screening Regulation

Watch on YouTube: Overview of the EU FDI Screening Regulation

Recent EU developments

On 5 April 2022, the European Commission published new guidance for EU Member States relating to foreign direct investment ("FDI") from Russia and Belarus (the "Guidance"). 

The Guidance aims to address the heightened risk that investments subject to the Russian or Belarusian government may pose to security or public order in the EU, especially with investments into critical assets in the EU. The Commission calls upon Member States to ensure effective FDI screening mechanisms are in place and to enhance cooperation between authorities involved in FDI screenings and those responsible for the enforcement of sanctions.

European Commission guidance on FDI from Russia and Belarus

Domestic policy developments

Domestic legislation

In July 2020, the government agreed to draft legislation to give effect to EU Regulation 2019/452 and to introduce an inward investment screening mechanism in Ireland. 

Published in August 2022, the Screening of Third Country Transactions Act 2023 was passed by the Oireachtas on 24 October 2023 and subsequently signed into law by the President on 31 October 2023.

The Act empowers the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment to respond to threats to Ireland’s security and public order posed by particular types of foreign investment, and to prevent or mitigate such threats. Under the Act, the Minister can assess, investigate, authorise, condition or prohibit foreign investments from outside of the EU, based on a range of security and public order criteria.

It is expected that Irish inward investment screening mechanism will commence operation during Q2 2024.

Related press release

Minister Calleary welcomes new control of exports and investment screening legislation

Personal data

Privacy is important to us, and we are fully committed to processing and keeping any personal information we receive safely. Our privacy notice is intended to provide information about the personal data we may collect and about how that data may be used and shared in the context of the processing activities undertaken by the Investment Screening Unit. This notice also sets out the privacy rights connected with the collection of such data. Should you wish to familiarise yourself on how and why we may collect this personal data you can view our privacy notice.

For further information on the department's policies in relation to data protection, see Data Protection.

Quick links

Investment screening (europa.eu)

OECD Investment policies related to national security and public order (oecd.org)