Dan O’Brien: Export earnings don’t tell full story of Ireland Inc’s reliance on tech and pharma

Ireland now earns more from exports than Italy, a G7 economy – but multinationals are massive earners for us, which may leave us vulnerable

Two sectors – pharmaceuticals and chemicals on the manufacturing side, and tech on the services side – now dominate Ireland’s export profile. Picture: Shutterstock / Norbert Tuzimek

Ireland now earns more from exports than Italy. This astonishing fact, from the balance of payments database of the World Bank, illustrates the degree to which the Irish economy has globalised.

Recall that Italy is a G7 economy with a population of 60 million people and land borders with prosperous markets such as France, Switzerland and Austria. Ireland, by contrast, is a peripheral island with a population 12 times smaller.

It is true that the ...