Lorry driver shortage risks ‘severe’ impact on goods distribution

Seen & Heard: TikTok’s Dublin campus, Facebook’s first refusal, and a data protection stand-off

Freight and HGV trucks pictured at Rosslare Harbour in January. A shortage of drivers could pose risks to trade, the IRHA has warned. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP

Freight and HGV trucks pictured at Rosslare Harbour in January. A shortage of drivers could pose risks to trade, the IRHA has warned. Photograph: Paul Faith/AFP

 

A shortage of lorry drivers could risk a “serious and severe” impact on the “efficient and timely distribution of goods” between the State and its trading partners, the Sunday Independent reports, citing a letter sent to the Department of Transport by the Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA).

The IRHA has written to Hildegarde Naughton, Minister of State at the department, to warn of the acute shortage of heavy goods vehicle drivers and ask for the shortage to be “addressed as a matter of urgency”.

TikTok data centre

TikTok has selected Echelon’s campus in Clondalkin as the site for its €420 million Irish data centre, according to the Business Post.

The data centre campus is due to be operational by the end of 2021 and industry sources have confirmed to the newspaper that the Chinese-owned short-form video site will house its European data centre on the 35-acre Dublin 10 site when it opens.

TikTok, which already employs more than 1,200 people here, announced plans in August 2020 to locate a data centre in the Republic, but has not yet confirmed the location.

Facebook HQ

Facebook has been given first refusal on the purchase of part of its European headquarters in Dublin, the Sunday Times reports. The technology giant is understood to have until this week to decide if it wants to buy four blocks at the former AIB Bankcentre campus in Ballsbridge.

Commercial property adviser Cushman & Wakefield is believed to be readying the holding for sale next month with a price tag of €400 million. The buildings are currently owned by the Serpentine consortium, a group of investors assembled by Goodbody and AIB.

Sponsorship recovery

The number of new sponsorship deals in the Republic doubled in the first half of 2021 compared to the same period last year, according to research from consultancy firm Onside quoted in the Sunday Independent.

Sport continues to dominate sponsorship activity, account for 84 per cent of deals so far in 2021. Financial and professional services firms and food and drinks brands were the most active sponsors in the market, while new broadcast deals in the second quarter were led by Circle K’s sponsorship of RTÉ’s coverage of the summer Olympic Games.

WhatsApp fine

The EU data protection board (EDPB) has intervened to resolve a stand-off between data protection commissioner Helen Dixon and a number of EU data protection authorities over a proposal to fine WhatsApp up to €50 million, according to the Sunday Times.

The fine relates to WhatsApp sharing users’ data with parent company Facebook. The EDPB has triggered a process under article 65 of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) to resolve the issue after some European data watchdogs objected to aspects of the proposed sanctions.

Stamp duty exemption

The Government’s plan to lease 2,400 homes from institutional funds this year will cost close to €1 billion over the 25-year term of the deals, the Business Post reports.

The Government came under pressure last week over a last-minute stamp duty exemption for funds that bulk buy homes to lease to the State for social housing. Taoiseach Micheál Martin defended the move by saying it was necessary, as plans to lease 2,400 units would be at risk if no stamp duty exemption was in place.

Last year, 1,400 social housing units were leased from institutional funds.