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– but more needed for infrastructure and development.

  • WDC broadly welcomes measures announced in Budget 2024
  • Incentives for angel investors in SMEs and startups are positive
  • Funding of infrastructure remains a key challenge

The Western Development Commission believes some of the measures announced in this week’s Budget 2024 could serve as a catalyst for investment and innovation across the Western region.

The WDC was encouraged by the announcement of new tax incentives to drive investment and innovation, support the creative arts, and add renewed impetus to the national fibre broadband rollout.

Specific policy announcements welcomed by the WDC include:

  • A 5% increase in the R&D tax credit rate from 25% to 30%
  • Doubling of payment threshold under the R&D tax credit scheme from €25,000 to €50,000
  • Introduction of a new €145m Smart Regions Enterprise Innovation Scheme to support the development of innovative services
  • Reduction in Capital Gains Tax for Angel Investors who invest in innovative start-ups and SMEs
  • An increase in the Film Tax Credit from €70m to €125m. The WDC supports provides valuable support to creative industries in the West through the Western Region Audiovisual Production (WRAP) Fund
  • Creation of a new National Enterprise Hub to help businesses access State supports

The West of Ireland has historically lagged behind its regional counterparts in terms of broadband connectivity. That’s why the WDC readily supports the announcement of the State’s €348m investment in connecting another 100,000 households to the fibre broadband network.

Commenting on Budget 24, CEO of the Western Development Commission Allan Mulrooney said:

Budget 24 contains a number of welcome incentives and changes that we believe will help SMEs, startups and those working in our creative industries to continue innovating, collaborating and creating. These include the enhanced R&D credits and the New Angel Investment Scheme which will significantly benefit SMEs and help us create a pipeline of investment across the region. The WDC operates an Evergreen Investment fund, reinvesting across the region and our client companies can now take advantage of these credits as well as the doubling of the investment ceiling of the Employment Investment Incentive Scheme.

There are also very welcome commitments to continue the funding and development of remote working through Connected Hubs, one of our key projects and the ongoing support for the operation and management of the Regional Enterprise Plan, which the WDC supports by hosting the West Regional Enterprise Plan Manager.

Mr Mulrooney praised the increase in the Section 481 Film Tax Credit, which rises from E70 million to E125 million. The WRAP fund, a collaborative effort hosted by the WDC with key stakeholders across the region, stands to benefit from the substantial increase. This boost holds great potential for the Creative Industries Sector, as it is expected to attract more film and television productions to the region, ultimately leading to job creation and economic growth.

He added: “However, while these developments are undoubtedly welcome, it is essential to recognise that infrastructure remains a challenge for the Western region to attract inward investment, support the scaling of indigenous companies, and bring the North West, in particular, on par with the rest of the country. Regrettably, the budget does not adequately address the lack of investment in infrastructure in the North West, which remains a concern for the WDC and stakeholders across the region. As we continue to attract more people to live and work in the West, it is imperative that we improve town centres, create vibrant communities, and empower those on the ground.”