Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has stated that while there is currently a retrenchment in Ireland’s tech sector, he believes that the sector will experience growth in the medium to long term due to the demand for future digital technologies. During a visit to Cork, Varadkar visited the Apple campus in Hollyhill and observed the ongoing construction works for the site’s expansion. When asked about the recent job cuts announced by Accenture, Varadkar acknowledged that the tech sector had grown rapidly during the pandemic but is now downsizing by approximately 10% to 15%. However, he expressed confidence in the future of the sector, citing the increasing importance of digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and robotics.
The recent redundancies announced by Accenture and Salesforce, as well as job cuts by other tech companies such as Facebook, Meta, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter, have raised concerns about the state of the tech sector in Ireland. However, Varadkar pointed to Apple’s ongoing expansion as a sign of the sector’s strength. Apple, which already employs over 6,000 people in Ireland, is investing in a significant expansion of its Hollyhill campus, which will be able to accommodate 1,300 staff. Varadkar emphasized Apple’s commitment to Cork and Ireland, highlighting the company’s role as one of the country’s largest employers and taxpayers.
During his visit to Apple, Varadkar was accompanied by Minister for Enterprise Simon Coveney and TD Colm Burke. They met with Apple’s Vice President of European Operations, Cathy Kearney, who expressed pride in being part of the thriving community in Cork. Kearney highlighted Apple’s investments in the Hollyhill campus, including the establishment of a test facility and a team focusing on artificial intelligence and machine learning. The visit did not include discussions on the ongoing Apple tax case, which is currently being assessed by the European appeal courts. However, Varadkar expressed confidence in the government’s position, stating that they expect to win the case. The European Commission had alleged that Ireland provided Apple with favorable tax terms and ordered the recovery of over €14 billion in taxes and interest. The case is expected to be resolved next year.
Varadkar emphasized that both Apple and the Irish government are united in their belief that the European Commission made an error in its allegations. He stated that the facts are on their side and that there was no special arrangement between the Irish government and Apple that was not available to other companies. The appeal to the European Court of Justice is currently underway, and Varadkar expects a decision to be reached in the coming months.