Poll: Should major tech companies build homes when they expand in Ireland?

Some say an influx of highly paid workers will drive up the cost of renting in Dublin.

By Conor McMahon Deputy editor, Fora

JUST A FEW weeks in and 2019 has already thrown up two major recruitment drives with Salesforce and Facebook collectively announcing 2,500 jobs for Dublin.

A few years ago, such mega hiring sprees would have been met with near-universal approval and an abundance of backslapping for the IDA. Today, the reaction tends to be much more mixed.

With Dublin experiencing a worsening housing crisis, indigenous business owners and other stakeholders frequently question where this influx of highly paid tech workers will live – and what impact their arrival will have on the cost of living in the city.

Microsoft said last week that it will spend $500 million building affordable homes in Seattle, where rents have skyrocketed in recent times and priced out low- and middle-income families.

Google and Facebook have made similar moves in other US cities, which begs the question of whether they should start providing homes in Dublin as well.

Multinationals reap the benefits of Ireland’s tax system and have the financial clout to pay their workers the hefty salaries that contribute to higher rents.

Some would say they should put a portion of their enormous profits into housing to ensure non-tech workers aren’t pushed out of the capital.

However, others would argue that it is the sole responsibility of the State to ensure adequate housing for the population, especially given the fact that Irish policymakers have built an economic model centred on attracting multinational employment and taking advantage of the resulting corporate and individual taxes.

With that in mind, we’re asking Fora readers this week: Should major tech companies build homes when they expand in Ireland?