Foreign investments

New law will allow government to screen foreign investment

The government is due to adopt a new law which will allow it for the first time to screen investments from non-EU countries.

It is designed to protect Ireland’s critical technology and infrastructure from potentially dangerous foreign investment.

Investments in technologies identified by law as “sensitive” or “critical” infrastructure such as health services, power grid, military infrastructure, ports and airports will be subject to screening based on ownership criteria and transaction value.

The current transaction value threshold is set at 2 million euros, but it will be reviewed and may be revised by the government if necessary.

Tánaiste and Minister of Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar received government approval to issue the new law.

It will introduce an investment screening mechanism, allowing the Minister to assess whether an investment poses a threat to the security or public order of Ireland.

It will also give the minister the power to put an end to such investments, if he deems it necessary.

Leo Varadkar says the new law will be an ‘important safeguard’

The bill was drawn up partly in response to an EU regulation on investment screening, which is in turn a response to growing concerns among member states over the purchase of strategic European companies by foreign companies and, in some cases, public enterprises. .

“We are a small open economy. We work hard to create a welcoming environment for foreign direct investment,” Varadkar said.

“However, it would be naive to think that Ireland is safe from those with more sinister intentions. This new law must give us the power to intervene if a non-European actor seeks to make an investment which would threaten our safety or our public.” order.”

“I think it’s an important protection, which I hope we never have to use,” he added.

The law defines the factors that will be taken into account when applying the screening to particular foreign investments, such as the threat resulting from the acquisition of the target, the means of control applied or the risk associated with the acquirer.

Companies that refuse to cooperate risk fines of up to €4 million or imprisonment.

There will also be an appeal mechanism.