SWOT Analysis of Ireland’s Bid for the European Medicines Agency


Dublin is regarded as the most likely city to host the European Medicines Agency in our first ever Brexit survey.  In this blog post we look at Dublin and carry out a brief SWOT analysis of its capacity to host the EMA.

With article 50 now triggered, so begins divorce proceedings for the UK. And like most divorces, it will not be cheap or easy. What is bad news for Britain will be good news for someone else, a case in point being the ability to host the European Medicines Agency (EMA). Ireland as well as many other EU countries, have tabled formal proposals for the prestigious European regulator. In this piece, our team of experts has performed a SWOT analysis of Ireland’s bid to host the EMA.


  1. Ireland’s low corporate tax environment has often been cited as one of the key strengths of the country in its ability to entice investors to base their operations in the country.
  2. Stable political and business environment.
  3. Pro-European Country.
  4. Well established and influential competent authority, the Health Products Healthcare Authority. Based on 2015 allocations, the HPRA was ranked joint seventh in the EU for rapporteurships for centrally authorised human products. (HPRA 2015 annual report).
  5. Cultural similarities and geographical proximity may help maximise retention of other staff for those wishing to relocate from London, relative to many other European destinations.
    Largest percentage of Population speaking English in the EU (>97%) and largest population of English speakers in EU outside of the UK – it is the working language of the EMA and the pharmaceutical industry.
  6. One of the largest and most highly developed pharmaceutical sectors in Europe.
  7. 9 out of top 10 pharmaceutical companies with operations here
  8.  Largest net exporter of Pharmaceuticals in the EU accounting for over 50% of all exports from the country
  9.  Proximity to London – 40 minute flight
IDA locations in Ireland

The Industrial Development Authority (the IDA) facts and figures regarding investment in Ireland (Source IDA.ie)

Deep experience in hosting international organisations / corporate head quarters
Apple Inc – EMEA HQ Cork
Airbnb – European HQ, Dublin
DropBox – EMEA HQ Dublin
eBay – EMEA HQ Dublin
Facebook – EMEA HQ Dublin
Google – EMEA HQ Dublin
LinkedIn – EMEA HQ Dublin
PayPal – EMEA HQ Dublin
Twitter – EU HQ, Dublin
Uber – EU HQ, Limerick

Brian Cleary and John McIntyre from Acorn Regulatory discussed the SWOT analysis of Dublin’s chances in the video below.


  1. Non availability of trained staff – we know from our own experience that highly skilled regulatory and health professionals are hard to find.
  2. Very high hotel occupancy rates in the Capital already
  3. Present housing crisis in Dublin and spiralling house and rent prices

    Marketing authorisation

    The EMA headquarters at Canary Wharf in London. Image by Mike Rolls and used under a Creative Commons Licence

  4. Poor infrastructure linking to Dublin Airport to Capital – only city in western Europe with no rail link from main airport to Capital


  1. Increased economic contribution to city of Dublin
  2. Further increases attractiveness of Ireland for life science companies


  1. May be left to foot the bill for (a) relocation and (b) breaking the lease on Churchill place. – EMA signed a 25 year lease on Churchill Place in 2014.

With so many countries now jockeying for the coveted title, how will the decision eventually be made? In a statement released by the Agency in July of last year, they advised that the decision will not be taken by the EMA, but rather by common agreement among the representatives of the Member States.

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