There should be no reason to be alarmed following comments from US President Donald Trump that he wants to bring pharmaceutical manufacturing back to America.
Many American pharmaceutical companies have bases in Cork, including Boston Scientific, Johnson & Johnson and Stryker, with more than 10,000 people estimated to be employed in the sector in the county.
Asked on Fox News over the weekend about America's dependency on drugs manufactured in China given the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Trump referenced both China and Ireland specifically in his response.
"It’s not only China, you take a look at Ireland. They make our drugs. Everybody makes our drugs except us,” he said, going on to say that he was “bringing that whole supply chain back” to America.
Cork Fianna Fáil TD Michael McGrath, however, said Mr Trump has made similar comments previously and nothing happened.
“While we should always be alert to what the US President says about US investment in Ireland, I don't think we should be alarmed. President Trump has made similar comments in the past and this did not lead to an exodus of US pharma companies out of Ireland,” he said.
“The reality is these companies are here for a variety of reasons and many of them are continuing to invest in new facilities here in Cork and around the country,” Deputy McGrath added.
Echoing similar comments from the Irish Ambassador to the US, the Cork South Central TD also added: “These firms will also want access to the European market and to the skills base we have here, and Ireland has proven to be a very attractive place for them to do business in.” The comments on Twitter from the Irish Ambassador Daniel Mulhall, a UCC alumnus, stated that there are more than 750 US companies with investments in Ireland. He said that they export to the EU and beyond, and pointed out that supply chains have remained functioning between Ireland and the US during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The ambassador added that the presence of US pharma companies in Ireland is of huge value to them as they can access the EU market, and others, tariff free from Ireland.
"That is ultimately to the significant benefit of the US economy,” Mr Mulhall’s Tweet added.
Meanwhile, on President Trump’s comments, Cork North Central Fianna Fáil TD Pádraig O’Sullivan said: “Obviously it’s concerning that the President of America would make comments like that, but at the same time I have faith in what we do in terms of attracting FDI.
“All these American companies are following the money. They’re based in Ireland and the EU for a reason.”