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Data centres are 'hugely important' to large employers in Ireland, says Donohoe

The Minister for Finance was being quizzed on the prospect of more amber electricity alerts.

Image: Shutterstock/Gorodenkoff

FINANCE MINISTER PASCHAL Donohoe has said that data centres are “hugely important to really large employers in Ireland,” dismissing suggestions that they do not create many jobs.

Speaking on RTÉ Radio’s Morning Ireland, Donohoe said that the value of having data centres in Ireland isn’t in the jobs they create, but in the “indirect huge importance of them to really large employers within our country, whose taxes and jobs are playing an invaluable part in our economic performance at the moment.”

What’s more important is the number of really, really large employers in our country that are located here that are part of Ireland, the world and Europe moving to a more digital future

Donohoe said that Ireland “offers the ability to have the data that these companies need located within our country, and we’re providing the skilled workforce that they need, and we’re taxing that in the right way.”

He was being questioned about two consecutive days of amber alerts for Ireland’s grid – warnings of a threat to the supply of electricity.
Tax Papers 007 Paschal Donohoe Source: Leah Farrell
Earlier this week, Clare County Council granted planning permission for a €450 million data centre campus in Ennis despite opposition from local groups.

When pressed on the speed at which Ireland’s renewable sector is developing, Donohoe conceded that “we’re going to need to make progress far quicker than within a decade.”

“If we end up with less renewable energy in the future than we will need or that we have now, that is an issue that I have to consider as seriously as the demands that many are now placing upon me to find new sources of tax revenue.”

Windfall tax

Donohoe was cold on the idea of a windfall tax on energy companies, who are recording high profits as customers watch their electricity bills soar.

He said a windfall tax – a one-off government tax on an unexpectedly large profit from a company – could undermine the growth of Ireland’s renewable energy sector.

“The wind sector, the solar sector, we need those sectors to be delivering more energy to Ireland in the years ahead, so that Ireland – and indeed Europe – can become energy independent and not face to kind of security risks that we are at the moment.

“Any sudden change in how those sectors are taxed could undermine the ability to get that independence at a point in the future, particularly when other forms of energy are being compromised.”

Taoiseach Micheál Martin said last week that the government will consider introducing a windfall tax on energy companies in the upcoming Budget.

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