Brennan, Nicola and Breathnach, Proinnsias
The spatiality of Irish manufacturing linkages in the 'Celtic Tiger' era.
Irish Geography, 42 (1).
Manufacturing investment from abroad has been of immense importance to
Ireland’s economic development in recent decades. In particular, high levels of
foreign investment in manufacturing were the main contributor to the unprecedented
economic growth rates from the early 1990s which led to Ireland’s
economy being compared with the Asian ‘Tigers’. Clearly it is desirable from a
national economic point of view that the current base of foreign manufacturing
firms should remain as embedded as possible. In this respect, the low level of local
linkages developed by foreign firms has been a constant concern for policymakers.
A number of studies have been conducted on the nature of linkages
developed within the Irish economy by foreign-owned manufacturing plants in
terms of the nature of these linkages and their potential for further development.
However, there has been little research on the spatial patterns of external linkages
of the plants in question. Based on a survey of 91 firms in four key manufacturing
sectors, this paper examines the spatial configuration of the material input
linkages of Irish manufacturing industry. The findings show that major sectoral
variations exist in the spatiality of the linkage structures of Irish manufacturing
industry. The paper concludes with a discussion of the possible implications of
these variations for the future stability and embeddedness of manufacturing firms
in the Irish economy.
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