Cantillon: Google shows it is still wedded to Ireland
John Herlihy of Google photographed at their Barrow Street Dublin Headquarters. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien/The Irish Times
Luxury Dublin hotels with conferencing facilities should thank their lucky (five) stars that the Foundry, Google’s new SME research and meeting centre in Dublin due to open in September, is not open for general bookings.
The online giant has long-since moved beyond lava lamps and foosball tables when it comes to building out its Dublin base. The Foundry, around which The Irish Times had a sneak preview yesterday, brings the concept of small-scale conferencing facilities in Dublin to a new level.
Where else in town would you find a facility with a 13 metre wide video wall into which you can plug your laptop to make a presentation? Or a “Green Room” with state-of-the-art broadcasting facilities allowing you to stream your conference live on the web? Or breakout rooms with bean bags?
The impressive 360-seat auditorium with its dedicated production facilities looks like some sort of futuristic television studio. If the Foundry was in the market for business meetings, Dublin’s conferencing hotels wouldn’t stand a chance. Instead, they will get the spin-off benefits of the extra 15,000 corporate visitors Google will now bring to the city annually.
Apple has led with its chin on the “Double Irish” corporation tax avoidance debate, taking most of the flak in the global press. Google, too, has come in for its fair share of international criticism for its tax policies , via its Irish operations.
The company is clearly anxious to be associated with more positive news concerning its Irish base – the Foundry is proof of that. It is also keen to show that it is committed to Dublin and willing to invest here further.
All of which will be music to the ears of the Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, who will cut the Foundry’s ribbon in September.