Lack of security clearance system causing trouble for high-tech firms in Ireland, agencies warn

Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland say lack of official procedure is hindering innovative companies internationally

The State agencies responsible for supporting domestic and international businesses in Ireland have warned the Government over the absence of a system for awarding security clearances.

Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland have maintained that the issue was causing difficulties for high-tech companies operating in the country.

Briefing documents prepared by officials in the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment for new Minister Peter Burke state: “Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland have raised their serious concerns that innovative and high-technology Irish companies have difficulty in competing for international procurement calls owing to the lack of any official procedure for obtaining security clearance, either in respect of personnel, facilities or cybersecurity.”

It is understood that discussions are under way between the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, the Department of Justice and the office of the Attorney General on the issue.


IDA Ireland confirmed this was a matter it raised with the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment “and that we are working to support the department to determine a solution”.

Meanwhile, the briefing material also reveals that Ireland is likely to significantly exceed targets for reducing industrial emissions.

“The target set out in the Government’s Climate Action Plan for industry is a 20 per cent reduction by 2025 and a 35 per cent reduction by 2030, on 2018 levels. In 2022, industrial emissions accounted for 9.7 per cent of Ireland’s total emissions. [A total of] 93 per cent of these emissions are accounted for in the client base of Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland and are highly concentrated in a group of manufacturing companies primarily in the cement, alumina, food and beverage, pharmaceutical and chemicals sectors. As it stands, the EPA [Environmental Protection Agency] is projecting that the industry sector will exceed its 2026-2030 sectoral ceiling by 39 per cent.”

The briefing documents state that Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland “have been actively working with the top emitters in their client portfolios – around 30 companies in total – to develop impactful decarbonisation plans”.

“These plans are primarily focused on decarbonising how these companies generate heat during the manufacturing process. These plans are at a mature stage however they will not happen in the near term without some State aid in addition to commercial capital investment, as they have payback periods far in excess of those normally required on commercial capital investment decisions, typically 3.5-five years in most sectors. This approach however will reap extremely positive rewards in terms of reducing carbon emissions.”

Martin Wall

Martin Wall

Martin Wall is the former Washington Correspondent of The Irish Times. He was previously industry correspondent