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Sam Boal
Job Cuts

Taoiseach says Coveney 'engaging' with tech sector as Google confirms it will cut 240 Irish jobs

A collective consultation process will commence tomorrow.

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR has said that Employment Minister Simon Coveney is engaging with the tech sector “at the highest level” after Google announced it will cut 240 employees from its Irish workforce. 

The announcement was made this morning, with a collective consultation process understood to be taking place tomorrow.

Google’s European Headquarters are located in the Dublin Docklands and it has a full-time employee base of 5,500 staff. 

Google has made the Department of Enterprise aware of the job cuts. 

Reacting to the news of the cuts, Varadkar said that Coveney is engaging with the tech sector “at the highest level”.

“I’m very sorry to hear about the job losses in Google today. Obviously, my thoughts are with those affected and also their families,” he said in the Dáil this afternoon.

“Government will make sure that everyone receives their statutory rights. We would hope that it will be possible, and it usually is in these circumstances, to negotiate an enhanced redundancy and exit package. That would be the norm for companies of this nature.”

The Taoiseach said the government would make sure that those affected by the cuts are fully aware of the opportunities available to them.

“Whether it’s job search, whether it’s education, whether it’s training, whether it’s help setting up their own business, all of those things will be put in place,” he said.

He also said that retrenchment in the tech sector appears to be “in the region of 5-10%” and that more people were working in the sector today than two or three years ago.

“I think in the medium term, we still could see the sector grow and hire again,” he added.

Just two weeks ago, Coveney had said that Ireland was “over the worst” of the announcements in relation to job cuts at big multinational tech firms with bases in the country. 

In January, Google’s parent company Alphabet announced plans to cut around 12,000 jobs, which is more than 6% of its global workforce.

“We’ve decided to reduce our workforce by approximately 12,000 roles,” Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said in an email to employees at the time, adding the cuts were in response to “a different economic reality than the one we face today”.

“We’ve undertaken a rigorous review across product areas and functions to ensure that our people and roles are aligned with our highest priorities as a company,” Pichai wrote.

“The roles we’re eliminating reflect the outcome of that review.

“The fact that these changes will impact the lives of Googlers weighs heavily on me, and I take full responsibility for the decisions that led us here.”

Earlier today, Labour leader Ivana Bacik expressed her concern at the Google cuts in Ireland. 

“My thoughts are with all those individuals working for Google who are affected by this announcement,” Bacik said. 

“While we know that the overall figure of job losses in Dublin will represent 4.3% of Google’s Irish workforce, less than the 6% cut being applied globally by Google, the figure of 240 job losses is significant and my sympathies are with all those affected,” she said.

Additional reporting from Jane Moore

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