The managing director of Facebook's Irish operations has said the company is here for the long term, with its acquisition of a new office building here showing it is happy with its continued investment in Ireland. 

Sonia Flynn was speaking to RTÉ News following the opening of the social network’s new 120,000 square foot offices at Grand Canal Square in Dublin - known as the city's ‘silicon docks’. 

Ms Flynn said the company moved into the new building in June as it needed space for possible future growth. 

The company currently employs over 500 people here, but the new offices have room for 1,100. 

She said all the teams working in Dublin are growing rapidly, including the small and medium-sized business team, as well as community operations and engineering teams. 

The staff is largely responsible for supporting other teams across Europe, Middle East and Africa, she said.  Ms Flynn also said Facebook is keenly interested in supporting small businesses here as they are the key to the Irish and European recovery. 

She said the company chose Dublin for further investment because there was continued satisfaction with the results. 

She said the ability to hire staff with the different languages and IT skills needed to provide support was the main reason for basing the headquarters for Europe, Middle East and Africa here. 

However, when asked how big a consideration corporation tax is, and if potential changes to the tax regime posed a threat, Ms Flynn said only that the company was showing that it was investing for the longer term and that this investment comes at the right time for the business here. 

On the issue of privacy, Ms Flynn said Facebook is working hard to make privacy settings more intuitive for people from the moment they sign up to the service. 

She said they are always investing in new ways to do that. 

She said she would refute strongly any claim that Ireland has a lax data protection regime, adding that the recent Office of the Data Protection Commissioner audit of Facebook shows Ireland has a robust regulator who is really interested in understanding the business and ensuring the right outcomes for users. 

She said the company was always monitoring new developments in the data protection sphere and is focused on getting privacy right for users of its service.