TikTok seeks to axe planned public access to cafe at new Dublin HQ

Social media giant says security concerns mean it cannot accommodate public access provided for under current planning permission

TikTok says it will not be able to allow public access to a cafe/restaurant at its new Dublin headquarters, as planned, because of security concerns.

Rubo Liang, the billionaire co-founder of social media giant, ByteDance which owns TikTok, made the comments in a letter to Dublin City Council seeking permission to change the use of the space from cafe/restaurant to office space.

Planning permission for the Iput-owned Tropical Fruit Warehouse on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay in Dublin’s docklands where TikTok will be taking up office space includes a ground-floor cafe/restaurant.

However, in a two-page letter on TikTok-headed paper to the local authority, Mr Liang says TikTok is not in a position to facilitate open public access to the planned ground-floor cafe and requests planning permission to allow the use of the cafe “for employees and designated visitors to our building only”.


He said security considerations due to the sensitive nature of some of the work that will take place at the Tropical Fruit Warehouse building, coupled with a desire to provide openness and interaction, meant the company was not in a position to make the cafe open to the public.

Elaborating on Mr Liang’s security concerns, planning consultants Tom Phillips + Associates said: “TikTok have important security considerations arising from the highly sensitive nature of some of the work that will place within the Tropical Fruit Warehouse complex and, as such, is not in a position to facilitate open public access to the permitted ground floor cafe or indeed any public access to this part of the development.”

Tom Phillips director John Gannon stressed that “security and data protection are of utmost importance to the company”.

TikTok Technology Ltd is seeking a change of use from the permitted cafe/restaurant to office floor space.

“We trust that you will facilitate our ambition and vision to inject new life into the surrounding area and bring a positive energy to those who work, visit and pass by the building,” wrote Mr Liang, whom Forbes Magazine has estimated has a net worth of $2 billion, in his letter to the council. “It is essential that the fit-out for our Dublin office creates a space that puts innovation and collaboration first.”

Mr Gannon said the commercial reality was that the cafe site, which had no direct frontage on to Sir John Rogerson’s Quay, was not considered attractive or viable to future cafe/restaurant operators.

A decision is due on the application in July.

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan

Gordon Deegan is a contributor to The Irish Times