Cork companies urged to help create housing for employees

Cork companies urged to help create housing for employees
The Apple European Headquarters building in Hollyhill. City Councillors have said companies like Apple should provide housing solutions for their workers to help ease the current crisis. Picture: David Keane.

MAJOR Cork employers like Apple and Voxpro need to start providing housing solutions for their staff, according to a member of Cork City Council.

Fianna Fáil's Tim Brosnan said that the companies could form a cooperative to help provide housing options for staff in a move that could help ease the housing crisis and also ensure that companies can continue to expand.

Housing shortages have led to huge increases in average rents in the private market, leaving many with few options. 

A shortage of accommodation has been cited by several major employers as a reason for not expanding or a concern for the coming years.

Mr Brosnan said that private employers need to make interventions into the housing market themselves to provide options for employees.

He said that staff earn too much for social housing but not enough to find options in the rental market.

"When you look at the housing crisis, we are all looking at social and affordable housing," Mr Brosnan said.

"But there are huge numbers of people coming to this country to work for these kinds of companies and those housing options don't meet their needs or wants.

"Apple, Abtran, VoxPro: these companies have all announced huge expansions, they have huge numbers of staff here already and they need to help contribute to solve the problem."

Mr Brosnan said these and other private companies should look to form a cooperative to provide housing solutions.

"We are talking about apartment blocks with gyms and other facilities, rather than just roofs over people's heads," he said.

"They wouldn't be directly involved in managing the apartments could provide the support to get it all started for their staff.

"We can do a lot of work in providing social and affordable housing but we can't predict when companies are going to expand and add hundreds of people to the workforce."

He said that there would be economic benefits to the move, too.

"It would help with retention and it would ensure that these companies can continue to expand so I think they absolutely should be exploring the feasibility of it," Mr Brosnan added.

Cllr John Sheehan backed the point at a meeting of Cork City Council last week.

"There is an element of corporate responsibility in employers providing accommodation for workers," he said.

"The NHS has a long history in providing good quality accommodation for their workforce in the UK and some other major employers could look at following suit."

Housing director Brian Geaney replied that housing is 'more than just a social issue.'

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