'Bounty hunter' Eddie Horkan will receive a hefty $57,000 finder’s fee for getting a US company to move 30 jobs destined for Scotland to Ireland.
Horkan, a 42-year-old civil engineer, is the first person to be paid under the controversial Succeed in Ireland initiative, which pays tip-off money to anyone who tell the government about potential investment. Participants can expect a minimum of $18,800 per job.
Horkan tipped-off the Irish Development Agency after discovering that his Ireland-based Scottish friend Phil McGoldrick was going to head up a new Glasgow office for engineering firm Intergeo Services.
Now the center will be opening up in County Carlow instead.
“The investment was intended to go to Scotland. The company was quite a way down the road with that and had almost made the final decision," Horkan told the Daily Record.
“I introduced my pal to the Succeed in Ireland scheme and it took away a lot of the headaches for him.
“I wasn’t expecting such a tip-off fee because when I started the introduction, I didn’t realize they were planning on hiring so many people.
“It’s a lot of money – practically a year’s gross earnings.”
Succeed in Ireland has a goal to create 5000 jobs in five years, focusing on small and medium-sized firms.
“Organizations working for Glasgow are, and should always be, alert to tactics being used by our competitors," said Glasgow Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stuart Patrick.
“I don’t recall seeing a tip-off fee in practice in Scotland but I can see how, with careful management, this might be a useful tool.”
David Lonsdale, CBI Scotland’s assistant director, said: “While we can’t win every available project, the Government should certainly keep under review the support and financial incentives on offer to attract inward investors.”
Tory MSP Murdo Fraser said: “This scheme appears to be having some success and is taking jobs away from Scotland. The Scottish Government needs to give serious consideration to see if they can match it.”
“You have to admire the Irish for having the imagination to bring in a scheme that rewards those who are able to attract new jobs to their country. We must emulate it.”
Labour Shadow Finance Secretary Ken Macintosh said: “This is an interesting scheme that deserves exploring.”
However, the Scottish Government said: “We have no plans to introduce this scheme in Scotland.
“The Scottish Government and our agencies Scottish Development International and Scottish Enterprise continue to attract inward investment and engage with potential investors all over the world.”