Wednesday 24 January 2018

Loss of 150 eBay jobs a 'major blow' to 'modern' town

Dundalk Chamber of Commerce PRO Paddy Malone outside the eBay offices in the town Photo: Mark Condren
Dundalk Chamber of Commerce PRO Paddy Malone outside the eBay offices in the town Photo: Mark Condren

Martin Grant and Ryan Nugent

Nearly 150 jobs are to go after eBay announced plans to close its operation in the border town of Dundalk, in what has been described as a "major blow".

The tech giant last night confirmed it will wind down its business in the town and will close by August next year.

The building where eBay is located is owned by PayPal, which also operates from the same development.

Bosses at eBay last night confirmed that PayPal served notice on the company to vacate the building when its lease comes to an end next year.

While it is expected that a number of eBay job losses will be offset by additional positions at PayPal, the majority of workers remain in the dark about the future. Sources say a meeting took place at the eBay office in Dundalk yesterday, where managers informed workers of the decision.

The company would not comment last night on whether staff would be offered positions at the firm's site in Blanchardstown.

"We can confirm that PayPal has served us notice as tenants of its Dundalk facility," said an eBay spokesman.

"We will begin a formal consultation process with our colleagues in Dundalk and will share any further information with them as a matter of priority."

The online auction company opened its European centre in Dundalk in April 2013.

Last July, PayPal separated from eBay. PayPal then took over as the landlord of the Dundalk plant.

PayPal last night said it was committed to Dundalk.

"We wish to reaffirm PayPal's commitment to Ireland and our growing operations centres in Dundalk and Dublin," said a company spokesman. Workers at eBay were last night disappointed by the news, but were not completely shocked by the announcement.

"There have been a lot of rumours circulating over the last couple of weeks, so we knew something was going to happen," one employee told the Irish Independent. "At one stage we thought everything was sorted, but that hasn't been the case. The worst has happened."

In a letter to workers, a senior manager in eBay described the announcement as "difficult".

The letter, seen by the Irish Independent, said that a legal consultation process would now take place "honourably and respectfully", and that workers would elect representatives to interact with the company.

There was widespread disappointment last night in the area at eBay's decision to wind down its operation.

Fine Gael TD Peter Fitzpatrick said he would "leave no stone unturned" to help workers find alternative jobs.

"I want to see as many as possible of these employees offered alternative employment within the company in their Dublin base," said Mr Fitzpatrick.

Paddy Malone of Dundalk Chamber of Commerce said the decision to move eBay from the town was a "major blow".

"We would feel that PayPal and eBay were a message that Dundalk is a modern town for business," Mr Malone said.

"We're hoping that another company comes in to replace eBay."

David Anderson, who works in the Phoenix Bar, said he was shocked at the news. "There's a lot of Europeans - French, German and Spanish and they'll probably move on. It'll not be good for the town," he said.

Irish Independent

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