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Adrian Weckler: Let's just agree to call it Googletown, shall we?


Google in Dublin at the Grand Canal. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Google in Dublin at the Grand Canal. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Google in Dublin at the Grand Canal. Photo: Steve Humphreys

Should we just go ahead and rename the Grand Canal Docks 'Googletown'?

If the web giant proceeds with plans to lease yet another building in Dublin's docklands, it will be on the way to 7,000 employees in the capital. That's bigger than almost anyone else in the country, bar semi-State outfits, retail and fast food chains.

For Ireland, Google's expansion plans come at an unusually sensitive time. All eyes are nervously fixed on the biggest tech multinationals here for two reasons - the EU's €13bn tax ruling against Apple and the Trump presidency.

The threat from The Donald arises from the expectation of a tax resolution in his first year that could see the biggest US tech firms repatriate some activities from overseas operations. Mr Trump has made it clear he expects this to happen on pain of legislative or regulatory retribution.

Meanwhile, there is still uncertainty as to how much the European Commission's €13bn ruling against Apple will test multinationals' oft-cited claims that they are here for more than the tax benefits.

Earlier this week, a decision by Snapchat to base its main European tax-gathering operation in London instead of Dublin raised fears Ireland now has serious new reputational challenges to tackle.

However, by signalling an intention to further bed down in Dublin, Google is giving us a real shot in the arm.

The move will buttress an ecosystem of smaller tech companies that feel they must locate in Ireland to avail of competitive, trained-up staff who cut their teeth at Google or a rival megafirm. Google isn't alone in its expansion. Facebook is still hiring like crazy. The boom may not be over yet.

Irish Independent