Louise Phelan of PayPal
PayPal Ireland boss Louise Phelan has revealed that the multinational is asking its staff to offer rooms to new employees who cannot find rental accommodation here.
While rental problems in Dublin are well known, good quality accommodation is also increasingly hard to come by in Dundalk, where PayPal employ over 1,000 staff.
Between their site in the Xerox Technology Park and another in Ballycoolin in Dublin, PayPal currently employs around 2,400 staff in Ireland but Phelan told the Construction Industry Federation conference yesterday that the country risks losing out on further foreign direct investment if staff cannot be accommodated.
PayPal revealed that the problem is so bad that they are forking out as much as €2,000 extra for new employees coming to Ireland in order to pay for a hotel when they arrive.
PayPal in Dundalk hires over 1,000 staff
Phelan admitted that “our greatest challenge today is rental property.”
She said: “Property prices are a consistent problem for my teammates trying to find somewhere to live.
“In terms of housing, I’m asking all teammates in Ballycoolin in Dublin and Dundalk to see will they rent rooms for teammates that I am bringing in from 26 countries because they can’t get accommodation.”
Ms Phelan warned that future foreign direct investment would be put in doubt if the problem continued.
“It costs about €1,500 to hire an invividual but today it’s costing me about €3,500 upfront to find a hotel for at least two to three weeks. It’s crisis time for us and for brining in foreign direct investment overall.
“The reality is that the IDA do an amazing job, but if you don’t have the after-care service for people, FDI won’t invest in you.
“It used to be about how many people I can hire. Now it’s about how many people I can hire and get schools for their families and get into a home.”
Ms Phelan said it was important that banks were lending to those interested in buying.
“First of all, I would say that the banks need to start lending again to people who can afford a mortgage and are being turned down and to developers who want to create the homes and commercial premises.
“But there is no point in the construction industry producing commercial property unless you’re going to match it with residential property to support it. We need to improve quality of life for people, for example to make more schools available,” she said.