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Enda Kenny praises Facebook for connecting Eskimos

The Taoiseach thinks the social media giant is “extraordinary”.

Sonia Flynn, MD of Facebook Ireland, and Enda Kenny
Sonia Flynn, MD of Facebook Ireland, and Enda Kenny
Image: Ohle Photography

THE TAOISEACH HAS praised the way social media giant Facebook approaches business.

Enda Kenny officially opened the company’s new Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) headquarters at Grand Canal Dock in Dublin yesterday.

In a varied speech, Kenny said it was “a particular interest” of his to visit “extraordinary” companies such as Facebook.

He noted that when attending the World Economic Forum in Davos earlier this year, he was impressed upon hearing that “Facebook was in contact with the Inuit, Eskimo people who keep in touch with each other [via the social network] about environmental changes, climate change and issues that affect their lives”.

Kenny also spoke of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s visit to Ireland in April, noting that she was taken with the Irish commitment to “getting business done in a proper way”.

I send my best to Sheryl, of course.

Facebook is one of the multinational companies that has come under fire for utilising the ‘Double Irish’ corporate tax loophole.

Kenny told Facebook staff that the Government decided to phase out the controversial loophole in Budget 2015 due to the “reputational damage” it was causing Ireland on the international stage.

Exposed pipes

The new building that Kenny opened has the capacity to accommodate more than 1,000 staff – double the current number of people employed by Facebook in Dublin.

The Taoiseach complimented the “fabulous” office, noting it’s “not the kind of conventional building that you … think of as a workplace”.

All of these airpipes and vents and extractors [in the ceiling] and all the rest of it would be hidden … but here it’s all part of the energy that you can sense about the place and these extraordinary minds that are here, who are not just working for Facebook, but you’re working in Ireland for Ireland, if you like.

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fb enda selfie Naturally, there was a selfie. Source: Ohle Photography

Kenny went on to describe Facebook as “an extraordinary method of communication”.

He noted that when he left secondary school, “people just scattered … for maybe 30 or 40 years”, but said things are very different now thanks to social networking.

Sonia Flynn, Managing Director of Facebook Ireland, said that the company is “proud to be here in Dublin, where we are able to find the talented people we need to enable Facebook to support the people who use it every day”.

Facebook was one of the first companies to locate in the so-called ‘Silicon Docks’ in 2009.

With a little help from Ireland, Facebook paid no UK tax last year

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About the author:

Órla Ryan

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