Ireland has introduced a new incentive aimed at increasing the number of jobs created in the country by international firms.

Individuals who facilitate contact between international companies and ConnectIreland – an initiative supported by the Irish Industrial Development Agency (IDA) and Irish government – can receive financial rewards, according to the new scheme. An individual who links ConnectIreland with a potential investor will be rewarded with a minimum of $2000 per new worker if jobs are created in Ireland as a result of the connection. This reward can grow to up to $4000 per new worker if, in a 12-month period, 30 or more sustainable jobs are created.

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“We have a very strong diaspora around the world and their involvement can definitely help in bringing new jobs to Ireland. At the same time, the initiative is open to everyone, so whoever knows people willing to set up businesses in Europe and passes that information to us, can get a reward,” said Terry Clune, ConnectIreland's founder and chairman. Mr Clune, who is also a founder of Taxback.com, a personal and corporate tax advisory, told fDithat a similar referral scheme has been successful at his company, hence the application of the idea to economic development.

A string of Ireland’s top political figures have embarked upon a roadshows recently in order to promote investments into the country. At the beginning of 2012, Irish prime minister Enda Kenny was joined by deputy prime minister Eamon Gilmore and minister for jobs, enterprise and innovation, Richard Bruton, at meetings with investors in three US cities: Chicago, New York and Boston.

The active involvement of the Irish government and public entities is seen as key for economic revival in the country. “FDI is a business, and if Ireland wants to attract new customers, or to encourage its existing customers to invest further, then it needs to ensure it acts in a proactive manner in selling Ireland’s unique propositions,” said Pat English, partner at Irish law firm Matheson Ormsby Prentice (MOP). ”The key is that Ireland continues to innovate and look for ways in which it can improve its offering to foreign investors.”

According to a recent report commissioned by MOP and prepared by research house Economist Intelligence Unit, Ireland is expected to attract $7.5bn of crossborder investments in the next three years, which will lead to the creation of an estimated 20,000 new jobs. This suggests a decline compared to previous years, however. According to data from greenfield investment monitor fDiMarkets, in 2011 alone, Ireland received $7.02bn in foreign investments, with more than 16,000 new jobs created as a result of FDI.