Business Irish

Sunday 17 December 2017

Firms under threat as overseas staff forced to live in hostels

Dan Kiely
Dan Kiely
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

Overseas workers are having to stay in B&Bs and hostels because of the housing shortage which now threatens our economic recovery.

One of Ireland's most successful indigenous outsourcing services firms, Voxpro, warned its future expansion plans may have to be revised, given the acute shortage of rental housing for employees in both Dublin and Cork.

Last year, Taoiseach Enda Kenny hailed Voxpro as "a true Irish success story". But yesterday, the firm issued its stark warning amid desperate efforts within the Government to agree a housing strategy following a high-profile spat between senior Fine Gael and Labour ministers.

Experts have estimated that Ireland urgently requires 60,000 to 100,000 new housing units by 2020.

Property Industry Ireland (PII) warned that Ireland had for years been building less than 50pc of the number of houses needed.

Voxpro, founded by Dan and Linda Kiely in Cork, employs 970 staff at locations in Dublin in Cork.

The firm, which provides multilingual outsourcing services, plans to expand to more than 3,000 employees.


However, Mr Kiely said that the lack of affordable housing for workers was drastically exacerbating long-standing problems over the lack of suitable office space, particularly outside Dublin.

"This isn't just a Cork problem. We have an operation in Dublin and we are experiencing exactly the same kind of housing issues there for our workers. It is a growing problem for Ireland Inc," Mr Kiely warned.

"The problem for us is the lack of accommodation is making it very difficult for people coming to Ireland from Europe to stay and work."

Voxpro works with major brands, including Google and Nest, and anticipates having a global workforce of more than 3,000 by 2018/2019.

"If the situation with accommodation for young graduate workers becomes any more serious, we are going to have to look at where we are going to expand. But we are definitely not looking at that right now. But I do worry for the future."

One Voxpro employee, Peter Macmun, revealed he had resorted to living in hostels and B&Bs. "I have been in Cork for 15 years so I have seen how things have changed. It is a total crisis, a disaster. I had to put all my stuff into storage and go to B&Bs and hostels."

Irish Independent

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