The Tánaiste Leo Varadkar has said the Government has asked the IDA and Enterprise Ireland to intensify their engagement with tech employers.

Mr Varadkar met with the agencies this evening to discuss concerns over job losses in the sector.

He said the meeting followed a series of direct contacts by the Department of Enterprise and the agencies with the companies involved.

"My main concern is for the staff and their families who will be affected by down-sizing in certain tech companies with a presence in Ireland," Mr Varadkar said.

"No company has given any indication that it is considering closing its Irish base. We will assist any employees affected as they seek alternative employment or other opportunities.

"There are well-established statutory processes to protect employees, and we are confident that all national employment rights requirements for consultation and notification of redundancies will be adhered to once decisions on any reductions in employment are made," he added.

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The Tánaiste said that there is a strong pipeline of new investments from overseas and within Ireland in a range of sectors and that positive announcements are expected in the coming months.

Meanwhile, Twitter informed its Irish-based staff who are at risk of redundancy that it intends to comply with its statutory requirements to inform the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment about matters to do with its plans to reduce its workforce here.

The company also told impacted employees that they are not required to work during the 30-day consultation period and has asked that they do not come into the office.

However, affected staff have been told no decisions will be made on redundancies until the end of that time and in the interim they will continue to receive all pay and contractual benefits.

In the communication, Twitter also told them that while their access to the company's systems has been turned off, this does not mean that it will not consult with them.

At the weekend RTÉ News revealed that Mr Vardakar had not yet received a collective redundancy notification from Twitter.

Under employment law, companies proposing a collective redundancy are required to inform the Minister for Enterprise at least 30 days before the first dismissals take place.

Companies are also required to carry out a 30-day consultation with employees and their representatives where collective redundancies are being proposed.

In an update to staff who were notified on Friday that their role was potentially impacted or at risk of redundancy, Twitter said that in line with its legal obligations it will inform the minister of a number of things related to its plans, including the identity of employee representatives, once they have been elected.

The company also reiterated that employee representatives will be consulted before any final decisions are made.

The staff were informed that roughly 50% of Twitter's global workforce of 7,500 will be impacted by the cost-saving measures, but the precise percentage varies by team, function and location and more detailed information will be provided during the consultation period.

Taoiseach urges calm over job loss reports

The Taoiseach said there are clearly issues in the digital sector and the Government is always concerned when there are potential job losses.

However, Micheál Martin said that there should not be panic about the recent job losses in Twitter and potential losses elsewhere.

Speaking at the COP27 conference in Egypt, he said that what happens globally does impact on Ireland, and the Government will consult with the IDA and with the companies involved.

There are realities globally that we cannot change, he said, and we need to decide how we regroup and face the challenges.

Mr Martin said that there have been similar situations in the past and he pointed out that other sectors in Ireland are continuing to grow.

30 days notice required

A barrister specialising in employment law has said under Irish law a company that is laying off staff must notify the employees and the minister 30 days before they let people go.

"A company who is engaging in collective redundancies has to consult with employees and inform employees, and also has to notify the minister 30 days before the first dismissal, so it is perfectly in order for an employer to commence the consultation and information process before notifying the minister and that may be well what we're seeing here now," Cathy Maguire said.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Cathy Maguire said if a company does not serve sufficient notice an employer can be prosecuted, and it faces fines from €5,000 up to €250,000.

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"Not only is the company at risk of prosecution, but also the officers of the company so that's a reasonable disincentive," she stated.

"The fact that the prosecution may be maintained not only against the company but against the officers does assist in that regard, and perhaps this is something that needs to be revisited by the legislature having regard to the scale of the companies now operating in Ireland," she stated.

Individuals can also bring a claim that they have been unfairly dismissed..

"If they're selected for redundancy, they may assert that they have been unfairly dismissed and the maximum award is two years' compensation for any losses accrued," she explained.

"So, in other words, if they mitigate if they get another job, then that they won't have accrued those losses and they can also seek reinstatement or re-engagement if the company is still operating in Ireland."

She said employees in tech companies can join a union but they do not seem to be "heavily organised".

She explained that even if someone joins a union, they cannot insist on the employer dealing with their trade union in the context of the consultation process required by the 1977 Act.

"But of course, a union could assist them in being represented by a fellow employee," she added.

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Brian Caulfied, Chair of Scale Ireland, which represents indigenous tech companies here, told RTÉ's News at One that what's happening with bigger tech companies globally may benefit smaller companies here and be an opportunity for the likes of highly skilled Twitter workers to be recruited elsewhere.

He added that it was inevitable due to recessions across the globe and changes in the sector, that Ireland's take-in of corporation tax from the tech sector will reduce.

He said that very strong relationships exist in the indigenous tech sector, so he couldn't say that there won't be any impact of recent moves by Twitter and Meta, but according to the latest survey by Scale Ireland, the biggest single problem for the sector was recruitment of good quality staff.

"There is an opportunity that there will be people with fantastic skills exiting from some of larger companies and opportunities for them to consider joining an indigenous startup."

He added that he did not think there will be a huge impact from a sales perspective, as most Irish companies are selling on a global basis but there may be issues from the investment side both publicly and privately.

He said that Ireland and the world is in a very different economic environment compared to the last number of years, where there was a period of extremely low interest rates and low inflation, where growth and future profits of tech companies were very attractive to investors and they were prepared to pay a big premium for that growth but "that has now reversed, which inevitably readjustment and evaluations of tech companies".

He added that parts of the world are already in recession and that is inevitably going to hit earnings in big tech companies so they’re taking action to right size the business in such an environment.

He said that broadly speaking the balance is right in Ireland in terms of dependence on the tech sector.

He added that the foreign and direct investment sector has delivered in a big way for the Irish economy but "the Government has been wise to avoid applying excess corporate tax gains to core spending, because it’s inevitable to see a reduction in corporation tax from big tech companies over the next number of years, and that will have an impact on the wider economy".

Technology Ireland, the Ibec group that represents the technology industry, has described the current changes as a rightsizing of the tech sector.

"We saw over 30% growth in the tech sector in Ireland over the last two years and really this is a stabilisation of the sector in this post-Covid era," said Una Fitzpatrick, Director of Technology Ireland.

"There is still phenomenal growth happening in the indigenous tech sector here and now there is a real opportunity, with this very mobile international tech talent, to keep them in the country and we want to make sure those resources are utilised as much as possible within the tech sector here," Ms Fitzpatrick said.

Additional reporting Will Goodbody and Paul Cunningham