PayPal emerges as sector's champion with 1,000 new jobs
If the Talk Talk debacle represented the downside of the call centre phenomenon, the announcement less than six months later by electronic payments company PayPal that it was establishing a new European operations centre in Dundalk, which will employ 1,000 people within four years, represented the upside.
The February 21 announcement transformed PayPal, the electronic payment system of online auction website eBay, into the undisputed heavyweight champion of the Irish call centre sector.
The new jobs, when added to the 1,400 people already employed by PayPal at its Blanchardstown, Co Dublin facility will bring the firm's total Irish headcount to almost 2,500, making it one of the largest private sector employers in the state.
The Dublin and Dundalk facilities will be responsible for customer service, financial operations, merchant services and sales for Europe, the Middle East and Africa, regions where PayPal currently has 42 million customer accounts.
The new jobs will include positions in customer support, finance, operations, sales and compliance and come at a time when PayPal is seeking to transform itself into a full-service electronic payments service company. Over half of its total volumes are now generated by non-eBay transactions.
While the PayPal announcement, coming so soon after the Talk Talk closure, was undoubtedly a triumph for the IDA, the real heroine of the occasion was PayPal's Irish boss Louise Phelan.
A native of Donaghmore in Co Laois, where her brother Brendan is a Fianna Fail county councillor, Ms Phelan joined PayPal from GE Money in 2006 and was promoted to her current position of vice-president for global operations in 2011.
In her spare time, Ms Phelan organises an annual triathlon for the charity Tri-To-Beat Cancer.
After February's announcement, the largest single such IDA-supported jobs announcement since 2008, Ms Phelan has upped the pace once again.