Supermac’s owner chips in to house workers

In the teeth of the housing crisis, Supermac’s owner Pat McDonagh has told the Business Post that he will have to provide accommodation for up to a quarter of his staff to attract workers.

Mr McDonagh, who also owns a portfolio of hotels in the midlands and west of Ireland, said: “Of the probably 1,400 to 1,500 we are employing at the minute, we have about 150 staying in accommodation that we have either sourced or supplied.” While it is not “not a huge amount”, he said “it is growing” amid elevated rents and house prices and a shortage of rentable accommodation across the State.

He is the latest in a string of business owners in the hospitality and services sectors to mull the prospect. The Irish Times previously reported that the five-star Merrion Hotel in Dublin 2 is looking at building accommodation for staff close to the hotel in order to attract and retain workers due to soaring city rents. The Powerscourt Hotel Resort and Spa in Co Wicklow, consortium, led by US billionaire John Malone, was recently granted permission by Wicklow County Council to build staff quarters on an existing car park.

Irish to auction ‘most expensive’ offshore wind energy

Ireland is set to play host to the world’s most expensive auction for offshore wind energy, the Business Post also reports. The State’s first offshore renewable energy subsidy auction will take place this week and analysts expect it to deliver average prices close to the €150 per megawatt hour (MWh) price cap, “more than triple the price of offshore wind in Scotland and considerably higher than other European countries”.

Six energy companies that have put in bids will find out on Thursday whether they have been successful in securing funding following a number of similar auctions for onshore projects.

Tech lay-offs hit foreign worker numbers

Job cuts and hiring freezes at some of the world’s biggest tech companies are behind a precipitous decline in the number of foreign worker permits granted so far this year, the Sunday Times reports.

Some 9,500 workers from outside the EU and UK received a permit between January and the end of April, down by almost a quarter from the same period last year when 12,300 permits were handed out, according to Department of Enterprise figures. Amazon, the largest recruiter of non-EU workers in the State last year, received just 42 permits in the first four months of 2023 compared with 393 in 2022.

The number of Google workers, meanwhile fell from 301 to just 78 while Meta has been granted 22 permits this year, down from 86 in 2022 after undertaking significant cost-cutting measures across its business.

At least 2,300 Irish jobs at companies like Meta, Intel and Microsoft among others have been lost in Ireland in recent months, according to Central Bank estimates.

Permanent TSB to create 400 new roles

Better news on the jobs market comes in the Sunday Independent, which reports that Permanent TSB is to hire an additional 400 staff this year in addition to the 350 or so Ulster Bank staff who have moved or are joining the bank.

The decision to boost the bank’s retail, technology, operations and finance teams comes after Permanent TSB said last week that its interest income jumped 86 per cent in the first three months of the year. This was driven by higher interest rates and the impact of the acquisition of Ulster Bank’s loan book.

The bank expects the overall mortgage market to grow by 3 per cent this year to €14.5 billion and reiterated, for now, its forecast that total income for 2023 will be around €650 million.

Minister to seek rainy day fund approval

Just a couple of weeks after his department confirmed that corporation tax receipts ballooned by 48 per cent last year, Minister for Finance Michael McGrath will go to Cabinet this week to seek approval to publish a policy paper on the establishment of a new rainy day fund.

The Business Post reports that Mr McGrath’s scoping paper will be the first step in setting up a new national reserve fund to hold billions of euro of windfall corporation taxes.

The minister and his predecessor, Minister for Public Expenditure Paschal Donohoe, have previously warned that, due to the volatile nature of corporate tax take and the concentration of receipts among a handful of top global companies, Ireland cannot rely on this income to fund permanent spending increases.

The fund is “urgently required to deal with an estimated corporation tax windfall of €12 billion this year alone”, the paper reports.


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