Archive | August, 2016

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Ireland, the US, the EU Commission and the dilemma over how to play an #AppleTax wind fall…

It’s awkward. Ireland’s FDI policy has been in train for nearly 70 years. It has shaped its economy not simply through cutting deals and sustaining low tax, but developing its education and outreach through its diaspora. It wasn’t just sentiment that brought big US companies ‘home’. The decision (available only by presser), by what amounts to the more…

“…so far there have been no convictions, and the attacks go on with shocking regularity in all six counties.”

Just because we haven’t covered it for a while doesn’t mean it’s not still going on. Attacks against often isolated Orange Halls in rural Ulster continues, as Eilis O’Hanlon notes, with very little in the way of consequences for those who do it: Alas, so far there have been no convictions, and the attacks go more…

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Apple-EU tax bill open thread…

So the European Commission has ruled that Apple must pay Ireland €13bn in unpaid taxes, which Dublin will appeal and likely will have broader consequences for Irish-EU relations. I’d be keen for your thoughts. I only have two or three, so far. The fracas between the EU and Ireland over Apple’s tax bill—what we here more…

Poor little Ireland is squeezed in the battle of the titans

The  basic foundation for the Celtic Tiger and the best hope for its revival? Or a scam that makes Ireland no better than tax haven? The day of reckoning may have arrived – subject to appeal.The Commission insists that they money must be used to pay down Irish debt anyway.  Ireland backs away from treating more…

Martin McGuinness’s challenge should be accepted. Offer immunity in exchange for disclosure to those who took decisions on both sides of the long war

Ulster Unionist leader Mike Nesbitt has mounted “a stinging attack” on Martin McGuinness for saying he would have “ no difficulty “ in disclosing his own role as an IRA leader in dealing with the past. An outsider would be taken aback at the vehemence of Nesbitt’s reaction.  On the face of it, McGuinness’s offer more…

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How Sinn Fein only undermined themselves by turning on their own partners in Government…

In case you missed it, here’s my analysis of the debacle up to and following the resignation of Daithi McKay written for and published by the Irish Independent on Saturday. The nine-year government coalition between Sinn Féin and the DUP has been an odd and largely unproductive affair. In spite of the popular Chuckle Brothers routine between more…

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Mount Stewart Conversations: a festival fusing debate, culture & food (17+18 September)

MOUNT STEWART CONVERSATIONS promises a weekend of debate, ideas, storytelling, art, music and food in the National Trust’s recently restored house and the surrounding gardens. Anne Applebaum, David Aaronovitch, Fintan O’Toole, Sarah Helm, Wendy Osborne, Jonathan Powell not to mention Urslua Burns, Iain Archer, Molly Sterling, Orchestre des Refugies et Amis, Bitch’n’Monk, and Lords of more…

“Better to criminalise rather than politicise.”

Here’s something you might have missed last week.  In an interestingly timed, if much belated, intervention in the Guardian, professor of journalism at City University, self-declared Sinn Féin supporter and, in the late 1980s, a pseudonymous contributor to An Phoblacht, Roy Greenslade channels his inner Thatcher for a call for media [self] censorship when reporting on still violent dissident republican groups.  From the Guardian article In other more…

Former top civil servant O’Donnell has a viable vision of Remain

Former Remain supporters of the moderate tendency have gained a powerful ally in Gus O’Donnell the former UK Cabinet Secretary. The role is recognised as the fountainhead  of Making It Happen in government – or explaining to ministers why it can’t happen. It’s all the more important at such a politically volatile time.  In an more…

Theresa May must end drift on Brexit after the Bank Holiday

The deeper meaning of “Brexit means Brexit” doesn’t get any easier as time goes on. Theresa May will have to clarify quickly after the Bank holiday. Arch Brexiteer Iain Duncan Smith claims Article 50 will be triggered early in the New Year. “I have spoken to them and I am certain that these characters – more…

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The cautionary tale of Pat Hickey: How the Olympics Got Seduced by Money, and Lost its Way

Ireland and Europe’s most senior Olympic official sits arrested in Rio, on charges of ticket scalping.   Meanwhile, pizza restaurants and small clothing shops receive threatening letters from the Olympics, telling them not to tweet the Games That Must Not Be Named.  (Lawyers say ‘I don’t think that’s what the law says’.) It’s all a sign of more…

Neither liberty, equality, nor fraternity

Imagine a woman on a beach on a hot day, perhaps your mother, sister, girlfriend or wife. She doesn’t take the sun well so she doesn’t wear a bathing suit and covers her head with a cloth and her shoulders with a shawl while she sleeps. Imagine four police officers approach her, waken her up, more…

A cautious approach to the McKay affair is right. But for the sake of Executive cohesion, O Muilleoir needs to say more or stand aside.

So rather than buckle down to the altogether tougher demands of trying the govern the place, the politicians are having themselves a jolly crisis. Far more fun isn’t it? And the more bizarre the better. But might there just be a chance that the Executive will in the end decide not to waste a good more…