Dexcom secures new IDA Ireland chief an early win

Athenry’s 1,000-job bonanza comes against ongoing concern about the carrying capacity of the Irish economy

Michael Lohan IDA Ireland

Michael Lohan needed an early win in his new job as chief executive of IDA Ireland and he got one this week.

It’s not that the role – easily one of the more prestigious and sensitive jobs in the public service – was seen as a poison chalice but coming, as it did, on the eve of notable downturn in the tech sector globally and with macroeconomic storm clouds gathering, Martin Shanahan’s announcement last summer that he was going to step down from the job he had held for eight years certainly raised a few eyebrows.

Shanahan’s departure left the inward investment agency scrambling to find a replacement just as some of the State’s biggest investors were announcing swingeing job cuts. . At least 2,300 Irish jobs at companies like Meta, Intel and Microsoft among others have, according to Central Bank estimates, since evaporated. Despite ministerial reassurance, significant uncertainty remains.

Against that background, the pharmaceutical sector has been a bright spot for the IDA and for Lohan. Over the past year, several notable players have announced plans to either establish a presence here or broaden their existing Irish footprint, a significant boon on the jobs front for an agency that largely measures success in employment figures.


US medical device-maker Dexcom’s announcement this week that it will establish its European base in Athenry, Co Galway, creating up to 1,000 jobs in the process, follows significant unveilings in recent times by the likes of Pfizer and Abbott.

Against the backdrop of ongoing conversations about housing, talent and even energy security, serious questions remain about the capacity of the Irish economy to facilitate investments on the scale of Dexcom’s. But for Lohan, who took over from interim chief executive Mary Buckley in March, it’s a relatively good problem to have given the upheaval of recent months.