Thursday 18 October 2018

Web Summit to offer Dublin staff mortgage supplements as Paddy Cosgrave slams housing costs as 'bad for business'

Web Summit's co-founder Paddy Cosgrave Photo: Reuters
Web Summit's co-founder Paddy Cosgrave Photo: Reuters
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Web Summit boss Paddy Cosgrave says that his company is now offering mortgage and rent subsidies to prospective staff due to Dublin housing costs.

Speaking at an event where he announced 50 new jobs for the company, Cosgrave said that high rents and house prices were now a “significant” factor in trying to attract people to work in Dublin.

“Some of the largest and fastest-growing companies, like Amazon and Stripe, are openly talking about the problem of housing in Dublin,” he said.

“We’re now having to provide a mortgage supplement, or a rent supplement. Basically, we’ll offset some of your mortgage every year under certain conditions. We have to as accommodation is now a significant challenge for us and other companies trying to attract talent.”

The subsidy typically equates to around a month’s rent or mortgage payment each year, he said. It applies to staff who choose a property within 2km of the company’s Dublin headquarters, located in Dartry, Dublin 6. It does not apply to those who buy or rent on Dublin’s northside.

Cosgrave said that housing policies in Dublin are “bad for business”.

“They’re also bad for people and everyone else, unless your business is being a landlord. Housing policies in Dublin are inane from a business point of view. It’s not even that they’re right wing, they’re just aristocratic.”

He said that the Web Summit’s mortgage supplement was a “modest” attempt to help recruit people who are hesitating because of accommodation costs in Ireland’s capital.

“I wish we could do more. But right now when candidates from outside the city Google ‘housing’, they see how bad it is. It’s hurting a lot of businesses here, not just us. Companies like Airbnb can’t get senior talent into Dublin, with the result that the headquarters here is a shadow office, with major decisions made in London.”

Cosgrave said that Ireland’s tax incentives for international property companies were partly to blame.

“The idea that large international investors can invest tax-free in property in Ireland is obscene,” he said. “It scarcely exists elsewhere in the EU and we can’t defend it anymore, whatever about a few years ago when we were desperately trying to get money into the country.”

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