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Thursday 24 August 2017

Sheryl Sandberg's email to Enda Kenny reveals what Bono really thinks about him

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Taoiseach Enda Kenny
Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Taoiseach Enda Kenny

Brian Carroll

Notes and emails between Sheryl Sandberg and Enda Kenny reveal how the Taoiseach forged a bond with perhaps the world’s most powerful business woman.

There is a private note exchanged after the World Economic Forum in Davos, which hints that the pair's brief meeting went well.

In this exchange,  U2 frontman Bono garners a mention in the dispatches.

On February 14, 2014 Sheryl Sandberg wrote Mr Kenny the following note:

Dear Taoiseach

It was great to see you again in Davos. I appreciated the chance to meet with you privately, as well as the opportunity to come by the IDA dinner. You have a real champion in Bono and equally so with me and Facebook. I hope it came through how much we value our relationship with you and Ireland. I remain grateful for the partnership that we’ve been able to establish with you and your staff. Ireland has been a wonderful home for Facebook and your innovation agenda has enabled us to continue building our Irish operations, a trend that we hope to carry on well into the future.

I also want to commend you once again for your leadership during your Presidency of the EU. You made enormous progress. When it came to the European Data Protection Regulation, you and your staff really internalised our concerns and were able to present them in a reasonable way, which has had a positive impact on both the process and work product. We hope we can rely on you for your continued leadership on this regulation since we still have more work to do here. Along the same lines, I was pleased to heard that you re so involved in the OECD working group process on tax reform. These discussions will be very complicated and important, and we hope to be helpful to you identifying the implications with different options for future investment and growth in Europe. We are keen to collaborate with your office on this, just as we have on the DPR.

As I said at our meeting, I would be thrilled to host you at Facebook Headquarters in Menlo Park any time, and would be even more thrilled if you were available…

two redacted lines….

Please let me know when you are planning to come to the US and your schedule might permit a stop in California.

It takes 24 days for the Taoiseach to reply  to Sheryl Sandberg’s personal note:

Dear Redacted

It was a pleasure to meet you once again at the World Economic Forum in Davos and I was delighted that you came along later that evening to the dinner organised by the IDA. I greatly appreciate your positive comments regarding the Government’s innovation agenda which has helped to facilitate the integration of your operations in Ireland.

I welcome these opportunities to engage with you and your colleagues to discuss the further development of Facebook in Ireland. I know that senior officials from my Department had a very constructive meeting with redacted and your policy team recently and that they expanded on our discussions held in Davos particularly in relation to data protection and the international tax reform agenda. We look forward to continuing this dialogue at future encounters.

With warm and personal regards

Your sincerely

Enda Kenny

Taoiseach

The emails are part of an eleventh-month correspondence chain provided to the Irish Independent under Freedom of Information Laws which show that Facebook lobbied the Taoiseach on the issue of taxation and data protection.

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