Thursday 15 November 2018

'A major investor and employer in Ireland' - Taoiseach meets Apple boss Tim Cook

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar held a formal meeting with Apple boss Tim Cook this evening
Photo: Twitter/Leo Varadkar
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar held a formal meeting with Apple boss Tim Cook this evening Photo: Twitter/Leo Varadkar
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

APPLE boss Tim Cook has held a meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar to discuss the company’s ongoing commitment to Ireland.

The chief executive flew into Dublin this evening for the meeting ahead of a scheduled visit to the company’s office in Cork tomorrow.

The meeting was described as “formal” by a government spokesperson – but he was unable to give specifics of the topics discussed.

“Apple are a major investor and employer in Ireland. They made it clear they are here for the long haul,” the spokesman said.

The company, which employs almost 6,000 people here, has run into several controversies in recent months.

The US tech giant is expected to lodge €13bn into an escrow account by the end of September on foot of a European Commission ruling that it was given tax breaks that amounted to State aid.

The Irish Government is continuing to fight the EU ruling – but the money must be handed over in the meantime.

And last month Apple pulled out of plans to build an €850m data centre in Athenry, Co Galway, due to delays in the planning process.

The centre would have employed about 300 people during the construction phase and another 50 on a full-time basis once operational.

Mr Varadkar previously wrote to Mr Cook saying the Government would “do all we can” to support the project.

Their meeting at Government Buildings was the first since Mr Varadkar travelled to Silicon Valley last November for a whistle-stop tour of tech companies, including Google and Facebook.

The Taoiseach’s spokesman said it was not unusual for Mr Varadkar to meet company bosses, “particularly those who employ such a large number of people or who are looking to set up in Ireland”.

He said Apple executives gave “reassurances” about their commitment to this country.

“Ireland is one of the few facilities in the world where Apple directly manufactures its own products,” the spokesman noted.

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