Varadkar says there’s no indication tech giants will close Irish offices

8 Nov 2022

Leo Varadkar at the RDS in Dublin in 2018. Image: Eóin Noonan/MoneyConf (CC by 2.0)

Leo Varadkar said the Government has asked IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland to intensify their engagement with major tech employers in Ireland.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, TD, has said there is no indication that major tech companies are planning to fully close their Irish operations.

Varadkar issued the statement after a meeting with IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland. It came on the back of recent mass job cuts at Twitter and Stripe.

The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment said this meeting followed “a series of direct contacts” between his office and the agencies with the companies involved.

“My main concern is for the staff and their families who will be affected by downsizing in certain tech companies with a presence in Ireland,” Varadkar said. “We will assist any employees affected as they seek alternative employment or other opportunities.”

In Ireland, employers who propose a collective redundancy must first hold consultations with employee representatives. Companies are also expected to inform the Government in advance. However, neither Twitter or Stripe informed the Department of Enterprise of their staff reduction plans.

“There are well-established statutory processes to protect employees, and we are confident that all national employment rights requirements for consultation and notification of redundancies will be adhered to once decisions on any reductions in employment are made,” Varadkar said.

Employers must also have a real business reason to make employees redundant and must use fair and reasonable selection criteria in choosing people to make redundant. The penalty for not following this process can be up to €250,000 and can also lead to unfair dismissal claims.

The Irish Times reported last that week Stripe has entered into a 30-day consultation period with its Irish staff.

There are now growing concerns that Meta, the parent company of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, is also planning a major reduction in its global workforce.

About 3,000 people are employed by Meta in Ireland, across its European headquarters in Dublin, its Reality Labs team in Cork and its data centre in Clonee, Co Meath.

This comes amid a wider wave of layoffs in the tech sector. The job losses at Stripe and Twitter follow staff cuts at Snap, Patreon and Intercom, among others. Intel has also confirmed that it is considering cutting jobs amid an ongoing slump in global PC sales.

Despite cuts impacting the tech sector in Ireland, Varadkar said the country is close to full employment and there is “high demand” for tech, marketing and other skills across all sectors.

“There is a strong pipeline of new investments from overseas and within Ireland in a range of sectors including tech and in other sectors and we expect many positive announcements in the coming months,” he added.

“We have ongoing engagement with major tech employers through the IDA and Enterprise Ireland, and the Government has asked the agencies to intensify this engagement.”

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Leo Varadkar at the RDS in Dublin in 2018. Image: Eóin Noonan/MoneyConf via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic