The client survey on which the IDA has spent at least €78,000 trying to keep secret

The high cost and low availability of housing, as well as the amount paid out in personal tax by employees, were the single-most negative factors for major companies operating in Ireland, according to a controversial client survey carried out by IDA.

The generous Irish corporate tax environment, the subject of decades of controversy, was given as the highest-rated factor for operating in this country.

The reliability and availability of power was, ironically, given as the second most positive factor in the survey though the energy network has since been dogged by issues with supply alerts issued last year.

Release of the client survey, which was carried out in 2019, was fiercely resisted by the IDA who have spent at least €78,000 bringing a High Court challenge after being told they must release it under Freedom of Information laws by the Information Commissioner.

The IDA has since decided to disclose over sixty per cent of the report after originally making public fewer than a handful of pages.

A brief timeline of the IDA client survey case:

  • March 2020: Right to Know requests a copy of the client survey.
  • April 2020: The IDA releases three all but meaningless introductory and contextual pages from the survey.
  • April 2020: Right to Know seeks internal review.
  • May 2020: The IDA stands by its decision.
  • Nov 2021: The Information Commissioner orders full release of the document.
  • Dec 2021: The IDA appeals the decision to the High Court.
  • Dec 2022: The Information Commissioner revokes it decision and agrees to make a fresh decision using a different investigator.
  • Jul 2023: The IDA, without explanation, releases more than 60% of the survey, including all of its key findings.
  • Aug 2023: It is revealed that the IDA has spent €78,000 on the case, despite having quietly conceded most of it. Legal costs incurred by the Information Commissioner (OIC) are not known.
  • The case continues and a fresh decision from the OIC is awaited.