Tuesday 20 March 2018

Facebook expansion will create 'hundreds' of jobs

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar
Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Facebook is to create "several hundred" jobs in Ireland next year.

The tech giant has not yet finalised details for its latest expansion, but CEO Mark Zuckerberg confirmed there will be a substantial jobs boost "in the higher end of the hundreds", during a meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.

Ireland is home to Facebook's largest office outside of Silicon Valley, employing 2,200 people in Dublin and Cork.

It is understood most of the new jobs will be in Dublin, which is home to the social media company's international headquarters.

Speaking after his meeting with Mr Zuckerberg and other executives, Mr Varadkar said: "They have confirmed they are going to expand their operations in Ireland.

"That was a very positive announcement that Facebook is very committed to Ireland, very happy with its operations in Ireland, and is going to increase its employment levels and roles in Ireland by several hundred next year."

When Facebook opened its first offices in Ireland in 2009 it employed just 30 people.

The jobs come on top of a recent announcement that Facebook is expanding a data centre in Clonee, Co Meath.

Mr Varadkar said the jobs would be "expanding on existing facilities".

"They indicated that there will be several hundred additional roles in Ireland next year. We weren't able to disclose the exact figure, but it's certainly in the higher end of the hundreds," he said.

Asked whether he has any concerns that Ireland is becoming overly reliant on tech companies for employment, the Taoiseach said he does not believe we are overly exposed.

"One thing you always have to bear in mind in economics and politics is not to have all your eggs in one basket.

"We suffered very badly when there was too much happening in the construction sector, and when the construction sector collapsed, it brought down large parts of the economy with it, including banking and retail. But I think our economy is more diversified than it has ever been before."

Mr Varadkar also commented on moves by US President Donald Trump to cut corporation tax from 35pc to 20pc.

The president has repeatedly said the reduction is part of a plan to take US companies back from countries like Ireland.

However, the Taoiseach said he would not criticise one government's tax proposals when Ireland is constantly defending its own 12.5pc corporation tax rate.

"I don't think the US proposals will have much of an impact on us. As a country we believe individual countries should set their own tax rates, so it wouldn't make any sense for us to criticise," he said.

Irish Independent

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