Minister Donohoe welcomes the launch of the World Bank’s Subnational Doing Business in Ireland Report

26th November, 2019

Today (Tuesday) marks the launch of the World Bank’s Subnational Doing Business in Ireland report.

The Subnational Doing Business in Ireland report examines the business regulatory environment and its impact on local entrepreneurs in five Irish cities (Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford) across five areas relevant to the lifecycle of small and medium-sized businesses: starting a business; dealing with construction permits; getting electricity; registering property; and enforcing contracts. The purpose of the report is to provide data on the ease of doing business in each city, identify regulatory constraints, contribute to the dissemination of best practices and provide policy recommendations on how to improve the business regulatory environment.

Commenting on the report, Minister for Finance and Ireland’s Governor at the World Bank, Paschal Donohoe, T.D., noted that: ‘The World Bank’s assessment of the ease of doing business in five Irish cities offers a valuable insight into some of the challenges faced by the many small and medium-sized firms that play such a critical role in our economy. The differences in regional performance highlighted in the report will allow policy makers to effectively identify and target bottlenecks and further improve the business environment across our economy. By identifying examples of local good practice, the report underlines the fact that, while each city has its respective strengths, there is always room to improve and to learn from one another’.

Heather Humphries, T.D., Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation remarked that: ‘A competitive economy is vital to ensuring that Irish businesses are able to compete successfully in international markets. I welcome this World Bank subnational report which focusses on the five cities aligned to Project Ireland 2040. It outlines how the regulatory environment for businesses can be improved at the regional and local level and how regions can learn from each other and put in place more efficient and productive practices to improve Ireland’s overall competitiveness. My own Department will continue to co-ordinate the nine Regional Enterprise Plans in order to identify the strengths and opportunities that each of the regions currently face in order to boost employment opportunities across the country in line with the objectives of Future Jobs Ireland and Project Ireland 2040’.

The Subnational Doing Business in Ireland report finds that no single city dominates in all five areas measured. There is variation in regulatory performance among Irish cities, with the exception of the starting a business indicators. Findings include:

  • The ‘starting a business’ indicator is one of the areas in which all five Irish cities outscore most EU member states – starting a business in Ireland costs less and is simpler than the EU average.
  • The greatest variation in the performance of the Irish cities studied was in the ‘dealing with construction permits’ indicator. However, all five cities perform above the EU average in this area.
  • Performance gaps on the ‘enforcing contracts’ indicator stem from variations in time and cost.
  • In registering property, all five Irish cities examined differ in time and the quality of land administration.
  • In connecting to an electricity supply, some cities outperform the EU average.

These differences in performance provide policy makers with an opportunity to identify examples of good practices that other Irish cities can adopt to allow businesses to operate more effectively. Significantly, the study suggests that Ireland’s standing on the global Doing Business rankings can further improve through peer learning among Irish cities and adopting domestic good practices.

The report also lists a number of recommendations for reforms and good practices in each of the five areas measured. In addition to making a number of significant recommendations that may require legislative changes, the authors note that there are several small and easily-implemented administrative changes that could potentially make a big difference for businesses.


The World Bank’s Doing Business project, launched in 2002, looks at domestic small and medium-size companies and measures the regulations applying to them through their life cycle. The project provides objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement across 190 economies and selected cities at the subnational and regional level.

The Subnational Doing Business in Ireland report forms part of the Doing Business in the European Union 2020 series of subnational reports covering 24 cities in Greece, Ireland and Italy. It was prepared at the request of and funded by the European Commission (DG REGIO) and carried out by the World Bank’s Subnational Doing Business team, in collaboration with national and local government partners.

The report is the third in a series of subnational doing reports covering European Union Member States at the sub-national level. The first two reports covered Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania (2017); and Croatia, the Czech Republic, Portugal and Slovakia (2018). The ambition is to continue this series until all member states with at least 4 million inhabitants have been covered.