As many as one-third of the 3,000 architects employed in Ireland could be out of work by the end of the year because of the downturn in the construction sector in Ireland and Britain, according to senior industry sources. Sean O’Laoire, founding director of Murray O’Laoire Architects and president of the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI), said anecdotal evidence suggested that very significant redundancies were occurring in the sector. He said that about 70 per cent of architecture firms in the country would normally employ about ten people each, but many of these had now reduced their staff to about three people. O’Laoire said he was also aware of larger firms that had laid off between 20 and 30 people. The trend had been progressive for the last year, he said, but had been exacerbated in the past three to six months. Architecture firm O’Mahony Pike is among those reducing staff numbers, with plans to lay off about one-third of its staff.