By Cate McCurry, PA
The Tánaiste said he is confident technology companies operating in Ireland will comply with statutory requirements around the impending redundancies at Twitter and Facebook.
Leo Varadkar said no big tech company has given any indication they intend to close their offices in Ireland.
Mr Varadkar held meetings with officials from the Industrial Development Agency (IDA) and Enterprise Ireland over upcoming job losses within the tech sector.
Twitter is preparing to lay off some of its Irish workforce after it was bought by Elon Musk, while Facebook parent group Meta is also planning redundancies that are expected to affect thousands of staff, with an announcement expected to be made on Wednesday.
Following the meeting on Monday evening, Mr Varadkar said in a statement there is still “high demand” for tech workers in Ireland.
“Today senior IDA and Enterprise Ireland staff briefed me and Ministers of State Damien English and Dara Calleary on the current situation in the global tech sector,” he said.
“This followed a series of direct contacts by my office and the agencies with the companies involved.
“My main concern is for the staff and their families who will be affected by downsizing in certain tech companies with a presence in Ireland. No company has given any indication that it is considering closing its Irish base.
“We will assist any employees affected as they seek alternative employment or other opportunities.
“As a country we are close to full employment, with high demand for tech, marketing and other skills across all sectors.
“There is a strong pipeline of new investments from overseas and within Ireland in a range of sectors including tech and in other sectors and we expect many positive announcements in the coming months.
“The economy is well diversified, with hundreds of thousands of people employed by indigenous SMEs, pharmaceuticals, agri-food, med-tech, and financial services.
“We have ongoing engagement with major tech employers through the IDA and Enterprise Ireland, and the Government has asked the agencies to intensify this engagement.
“There are well-established statutory processes to protect employees, and we are confident that all national employment rights requirements for consultation and notification of redundancies will be adhered to once decisions on any reductions in employment are made.”
Mr Varadkar said he has asked officials in the Department of Enterprise, the IDA and Enterprise Ireland to keep him informed of any developments.
“At Government-level we are focused on competitiveness and ensuring that Ireland is the best place in Europe to invest and grow for the future. We are acting on energy, skills, housing, access to water services, and planning,” he added.
“We have never taken our economic prosperity for granted.
“In just over a month we will publish a white paper on enterprise which will set the strategic direction for job-creation and growth for the years ahead.”
Meanwhile, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said there are issues within the digital sector, and he is concerned over potential job losses.
Speaking in Egypt at the Cop27 conference, Mr Martin said: “We will consult with all the various companies. I have been concerned for some time in terms of the global economic situation because of the war in Ukraine and the implications across Europe and the world, the migration and so on.
“But that said, we have bounced back strongly from Covid-19, we do export heavily on what we produce so what happens globally has an impact on Ireland. So our challenge is to make sure that we will engage with the IDA and companies.
“We have faced this situation before, where we consolidate, we look for new opportunities in times when it picks up again in those particular sectors.
“There are issues clearly in the digital area, we are always concerned whether there is potential job losses.
“But we always tend to look at it with a view of, OK, there are realities out there that we can’t change globally, how do we deal with this domestically and how do we regroup, what new opportunities are out there in these sectors?”
Ireland is host to several tech giants’ European headquarters, including Twitter, Google and Facebook.
Meta employs around 3,000 people at its Dublin office.
Twitter is expected to enter a 30-day consultation period with staff, during which time they are not required to work or attend the office.