27 September 2011 | 0
The news that Twitter has decided to site a new international office in Dublin has set Ireland trending on Twitter itself as people speculate as to the possible implications.
The announcement, carefully vague in itself, is certainly being taken to heart in the UK, where a concerted campaign is reported to have been personally supported by London mayor Boris Johnson, as well Prime Minister David Cameron.
Excitement aside, what does the little detail available tell us? Well, not a lot. Twitter currently has offices outside of the United States already, one of which is in London the other being Tokyo. London, Dublin and Berlin are all reported to have been in competition as potential sites of a Twitter international HQ, and many perceive this announcement as being a precursor to that, if not the beginnings of it.
There is some debate though. The actual post on Twitter from the IDA official account, @IDAIRELAND said "Twitter to establish international office in Dublin". The Guardian in the UK went with a headline of "Twitter to open international headquarters in Dublin", while the Telegraph said "Twitter joins Ireland’s Silicon Valley", careful to point out that there was no indication that this was the European HQ that is so hotly contested.
The Irish Times (IT) too, was careful to make the distinction, going only so far as to say that Twitter was to "establish an "international" office in Ireland"—the use of inverted commas highlighting the fact that the term "international office" is ambiguous to say the least. The IT report goes on to say that in a statement issued to it, there was no mention of either the number of jobs involved nor the purpose of the office.
The clear refusal of Twitter to call this the European HQ would seem to indicate one thing clearly: this is not the European HQ. Whether it will become that remains to be seen and certainly, some footprint here is better than none, as this would be only the third office outside of the US for the rapidly growing social networking company. But we should restrain ourselves from dancing in the streets, as a legal office or even a finance centre is unlikely to generate much revenue for the Irish exchequer, as we not only have that lovely low rate of corporate tax, we also have those wonderful mechanisms of the Double Irish and the Dutch Sandwich that allows big corporations to avoid even that.
Significantly, one blogger, Guido Fawkes, suggested that the UK should adopt Ireland’s approach and become a low tax economy to attract the likes of Twitter into the country, though at the same time suggesting that the euro is doomed and exhorts a return to the punt—neither of which is a likely outcome.