Stripe talks Dublin hous­ing to Mur­phy

Meet­ing with Eoghan Mur­phy comes af­ter Col­lisons’ $1m do­na­tion to Cal­i­for­nia or­gan­i­sa­tion, writes Fearghal O’connor

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Business & Appointments - - FRONT PAGE -

ON­LINE pay­ments firm Stripe has lob­bied hous­ing min­is­ter Eoghan Mur­phy on the Gov­ern­ment’s ap­proach to solv­ing the hous­ing cri­sis in Dublin.

The meet­ing be­tween Stripe ex­ec­u­tives and the Fine Gael min­is­ter fol­lowed a $1m do­na­tion by the co-founder of the com­pany, Pa­trick Col­li­son, to an or­gan­i­sa­tion ded­i­cated to solv­ing a sim­i­lar cri­sis in Cal­i­for­nia’s tech hubs.

Sources said that the $9bn tech com­pany was gen­er­ally sup­port­ive of the Gov­ern­ment’s ap­proach to the cri­sis that has seen rental prices in Dublin shoot past Celtic Tiger lev­els as em­ploy­ment has jumped, not least in the of­ten high-pay­ing multi­na­tional tech sec­tor.

Ear­lier this month, the com­pany an­nounced that it had do­nated $1m to Cal­i­for­nia Yimby — which stands for “yes in my back yard”. The hous­ing ad­vo­cacy or­gan­i­sa­tion has at­tempted to push through a bill in Cal­i­for­nia that would re­quire lo­cal gov­ern­ments to ac­cept higher-den­sity build­ings near rail stops.

“The hous­ing cri­sis is one of the top is­sues fac­ing Cal­i­for­nia as an econ­omy and Cal­i­for­ni­ans as peo­ple,” Col­li­son said in the US press ear­lier this month.

“We can sit back and sort of watch this un­fold around us and ab­stain from tak­ing any ac­tion or stance be­cause we think that there might be some blow­back that might be un­pleas­ant for us,” Col­li­son said. “But given just how se­vere the is­sue is, I re­ally think that would be mis­taken.”

Brian Han­lon, Cal­i­for­nia Yimby’s founder, said that the do­na­tion by Col­li­son to his group “may well be the begin­ning of tech firms de­cid­ing that they need to help solve this cri­sis. They don’t have a vi­able busi­ness model in Cal­i­for­nia if the hous­ing cri­sis con­tin­ues un­abated”.

Ear­lier this year, in an in­ter­view in the Ir­ish In­de­pen­dent, Col­li­son warned that Stripe would be pay­ing close at­ten­tion to hous­ing costs, which could, he said, “be a ma­jor im­ped­i­ment”.

“I think we, col­lec­tively, need to fig­ure out ways to keep them in check,” he said, adding that Ireland needs to main­tain its po­si­tion as the most at­trac­tive place for peo­ple from around the world to make a home.

In re­cent months, Pa­trick Col­li­son’s brother, John, has also met Taoiseach Leo Varad­kar to dis­cuss tech­nol­ogy pol­icy with the in­tended re­sult of “im­prove­ments to bet­ter reap ben­e­fits of the tech­nol­ogy sec­tor,” ac­cord­ing to a fil­ing on the lob­by­ing reg­is­ter that recorded the meet­ing be­tween the pair.

Stripe co-founder Pa­trick Col­li­son

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