Facebook owner stalls completion of new HQ complex

Seen & Heard: Aer Lingus deal with staff, electric car grants to be cut in the budget and Centrica restoring its dividend payments also made the headlines

Facebook owner Meta has stalled the fitout of its Johnny Ronan-built Dublin HQ as the social media giant reviews property needs globally, according to the Sunday Times. The owner of Facebook and Instagram told contractors recently that work on the newly-built office blocks would not begin on its intended date, according to the report.

However, it adds that property sources say that Meta is not seeking to renegotiate the lease nor does it have plans to sublet the offices. In 2018, Facebook signed a 25-year lease on two office blocks that Mr Ronan was building at AIB’s old headquarters in Ballsbridge, Dublin.

The multinational also agreed to rent four blocks at the former AIB Serpentine extension for €17 million a year. It plans to house 7,000 workers in what will be its Europe, Middle East and Africa headquarters. Facebook continues to renovate the former Serpentine buildings, the Sunday Times said.

Aer Lingus staff consider deal


Aer Lingus ground staff – whose duties include handling baggage – will vote for a second time next month on a deal that includes a once-off €1,700 payment, said the Sunday Independent.

Ground handlers, represented by trade union Siptu, rejected the proposal in January following its recommendation by the Labour Court. The airline has frozen ground handlers’ pay as it recovers from losses that ran to €1 million per day during the pandemic, when the Government heavily restricted travel.

According to the newspaper, they will vote again on the proposal in August. The deal now includes a commitment by management and the union to begin pay talks in September with the aim of ending them in November. If workers vote for the deal, they will receive the €1,700 payment in the most tax-efficient way, according to the report.

Electric car grants to be cut

Government will cut electric car grants in the budget as the cost of paying them is rising every year, the Business Post reported. Drivers get between €2,000 and €6,000 towards the cost of electric cars worth €60,000 or less to encourage them to switch from fossil fuel-powered vehicles.

However, the report said that the cost of paying the grants was rising every year as more drivers buy the cars, which now account for one in five of new cars driven out of showrooms. Minister for Transport Eamon Ryan has told car dealers the Government will cut the grants in the September budget.

Centrica to restore dividend payments

Bord Gáis Energy owner Centrica is likely to restore dividend payments to shareholders when it announces first-half results on Thursday, the Observer speculated. Centrica, which lured hundreds of thousands of retail shareholders when it privatised in the 1980s, suspended the payment in 2020 to preserve cash during the pandemic.

Analysts quoted in the British publication speculated that the payment could be about 3 pence sterling per share. Centrica chief executive Chris O’Shea indicated in February that the company would restart paying dividends this year.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas