Never mind Scandinavia.. here’s Ireland

From Prof Reynolds blog comes this link to an article by three members of a Flemish think-tank, Work for All, taking issue with a recent call in Le Monde, echoing a report by a Brussels think-tank Bruegel, for EU states to adopt the Scandinavian socio-economic model. The article points instead to Ireland and argues that the combination of “the so-called “active welfare state” of continental Europe with the Anglo-Saxon liberal economy in a balanced fashion” cannot be ignored. The Irish Times today also looks at Ireland’s 12.5% corporate tax rate, and despite the concern in the title, “American rumblings of discontent over Irish tax benefits cause concern”[subs req], seems mostly in praise of the performance.From the Irish Times article by Arthur Beesley

Ireland’s corporate tax take has risen to some €5.5 billion this year from €2 billion in 1997. It has also delivered massive spin-off benefits for the accounting, audit and legal professions, not to mention a multitude of other businesses that provide services for the sector.

From the Brussels Journal

Ireland: the efficient alternative

Ireland has proved that a substantial lowering of the taxation level can become the motor for launching even the most slackish economy into full gear. A drastic reduction of the Irish tax rate, from 53% in 1986 to its current 35% , has led to a continuous boom of wealth creation at an average rate of 5.6% during the past two decades, while the number of jobs has grown by over 50%. In barely 18 years Ireland jumped from the 22nd to the 4th place in the OECD prosperity ranking. Ireland did not reduce its social welfare benefits. On the contrary. The unprecedented growth led to an increase of fiscal revenue and social expenditure. It was sufficient to improve the productivity of the government.

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One crucial element of the Irish model is its “fair tax” system, in which there is less emphasis on taxing labour and profit and slightly more on taxing consumption. This balance between direct and indirect taxation motivates labourers and entrepreneurs to make productive contributions. It stimulates new initiatives and guarantees a high degree of participation.

Such a fiscal system does not put the entire burden of financing social security on domestic production. Indeed, a consumption tax ensures that foreign production also contributes evenly.

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The Irish model combines the so-called “active welfare state” of continental Europe with the Anglo-Saxon liberal economy in a balanced fashion. The model is efficient. Ireland surpasses all other EU members in prosperity, job creation, social expenditure and productivity per working hour.

The the Irish Times article details the corporate tax side of the strategy –

The strategy that has proved highly successful:

Ireland’s corporate tax take has risen to some €5.5 billion this year from €2 billion in 1997. It has also delivered massive spin-off benefits for the accounting, audit and legal professions, not to mention a multitude of other businesses that provide services for the sector.

In a study last year, the influential American journal Tax Notes used official figures from the US Department of Justice to suggest that Ireland was the most profitable foreign location for US groups.

“Subsidiaries of US corporations now generate profits mainly in tax havens rather than in the locations in which they conduct most of their business,” it said. “In low-tax Ireland, for instance, profits of subsidiaries of US multinationals have doubled in four years, from $13.4 billion to $26.6 billion.”

This rise in pretax profits in the period 1999 to 2002 was recorded before the Irish corporate tax rate, which has being notched downward since 1997, finally dropped to 12.5 per cent in 2003. It is fair, therefore, to assume profitability has increased since then.

If harnessing the tax regime to encourage big companies here is a textbook case of pro-business thinking at the core of economic policy, multinationals are known to play the system to cut hundreds of millions from their tax bills. “It’s not an affinity to Ireland, it’s an affinity to profit,” says one Irish figure who is familiar with the operations of many multinationals.

At issue in recent scrutiny of US business in Ireland is a very well-informed Wall Street Journal report this month of Microsoft’s placing of intellectual property assets with its Irish unit to shave $500 million from its annual tax bill. This prompted a New York Times editorial that condemned the seepage of US jobs and investments into “tax havens” such as Ireland and Singapore.

But the “haven” tag, with all its connotations of shady dealings and covert transactions, troubles people in Dublin’s investment world. Businessman Eoin O’Driscoll – a leading adviser to the Government on enterprise, and president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ireland – said last week that the description was a misrepresentation and was potentially damaging to Ireland’s reputation as a preferred location for investment.

The Government sees no issue with the way the tax rules are organised. “Fundamentally, Ireland is bound by the same rules on state-aid as every other EU state. This is all done in the open. This is all done above board,” said a spokesman.

But if the system itself is managed in a transparent way, the Irish performance of multinationals here is notoriously difficult to track from their public filings.

Such groups only rarely file a single consolidated set of accounts in Ireland, and they sometimes shield their operations from public glare by registering their operations under titles that bear little resemblance to their brands or trading names. For example, one of Microsoft’s core units here is called “Round Island One”.

According to IDA Ireland spokesman Enda Connolly tax havens are characterised by zero or low tax, a lack of transparency and the absence of any requirement to carry out real business in a jurisdiction. “In any technical fashion, you cannot describe Ireland as a tax haven. There’s genuine substance there,” says Connolly.

“Over-aggressive use of Ireland’s tax benefits in an international context by companies where there’s little substance or value-add activity taking place in Ireland, and, as a result, marginal benefit to Ireland, is not something the IDA advocates. We would never promote that to our clients. It’s not something we would.”

Greenwald, who advises many US groups in their dealings with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), says he has never seen resistance from the US tax authorities to such groups doing business in Ireland. “There was never any mention in the discussions with me that they don’t like Ireland. I don’t think that the US looks at Ireland and sees the Bahamas or the Caymans or the British Virgin Islands at all.”

David Rosenbloom, director of the international tax programme at New York University, makes a similar point. “The name of the game is to keep as much money as possible in a low-tax jurisdiction such as Ireland,” he says.

“Ireland is attractive for a variety of reasons: EU membership, an educated workforce, acceptable infrastructure, and certainly less of a taint than some jurisdictions, which are more openly tax havens, let’s say Cayman Islands. The evasion community doesn’t like 12.5 per cent.”

Still, news last week that the IRS is seeking almost half a billion dollars in back tax from software group Synopsys over its Irish subsidiary’s transactions implies a level of concern about the activities here of some companies.

At issue was the price at which US technology was transferred to the Irish unit. However, the IRS won’t talk publicly about the tax strategies employed in Ireland by multinationals.

For all that, the debate about the flow of business and money away from the US is an emotive one there, where the Democratic candidate, John Kerry, attacked the outsourcing of industrial jobs to foreign factories relentlessly in his unsuccessful campaign for the White House last year. The introduction by President Bush of special incentives for companies to repatriate their foreign profits suggests that Kerry’s argument struck a chord.

The Bush scheme, which gave groups a once-off chance to return money to their home units at hugely reduced tax rates, has been used by US groups here such as Forest Laboratories and Dell. Irish banks are cashing in on the initiative, with AIB advertising in recent weeks that it had extended a $60 million loan to US group Stiefel to help it avail of the scheme.

Dan McLaughlin, chief economist at Bank of Ireland, said that such repatriations “may well be a feature” in what was a negative inflow of foreign investment late last year. It’s big money, too.

“In the fourth quarter of last year, the foreign direct investment inflows were negative. Foreign firms disinvested in the fourth quarter of the year by just over €3 billion,” he says.

As the Irish Ferries dispute worsens, the outsourcing debate is not without resonance at home. But it ties in also with IDA Ireland’s dogged insistence that the pursuit of future economic success lies in creating higher quality jobs, moving skills “up the value chain”.

In a globalised economy in which big companies can with ease move low-skill jobs to low-wage economies, high-cost Ireland will not appeal to basic manufacturers or the purveyors of call centre services. The slashing of corporate tax rates to below 20 per cent by new EU members such as Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary and Poland helps to explain the non-stop drive to drum up international business.

In this context the Government has proved remarkably adept at tapping into the thinking of multinational managers as they survey the world in search of business opportunities.

Arthur Beesley does highlight a couple of benefits in particular to investing companies –

Crucial here was the absence of Irish legislation on the price that companies must pay to transfer technology or intellectual capital from a unit in another country into Ireland. This makes it easier to execute such a transfer and, coupled with the stamp duty exemption, it also provides an incentive to do so.

By carrying on additional research and development work here on the US intellectual property, Irish-based units can reduce the transfer price they must pay for the property. Among the first to take advantage of these rules was Microsoft.

Another was Google, whose Irish unit spent $120.5 million research and development in its first full year of operation. Thanks to its Irish operation, the group “significantly lowered” its tax bill for the first three quarters of 2005.

In a separate provision in the Finance Act of 2003, the Government put rules in place that significantly reduced the tax on the profit an Irish-based holding company would gain on the sale of a subsidiary. This development was well received by the market. Kellogg, the world’s dominant cereal market, soon established a new European headquarters in Dublin.

But also points out that this is not such a new approach –

In style, at least, the newer incentives are nothing new to Ireland. As far back as 1956, the Government of the day introduced a tax-free scheme on the export of products manufactured in Ireland. That was followed in 1987 with the introduction by Charlie Haughey of the IFSC regime in Dublin’s docklands. In 1997 the Rainbow coalition took the decision to gradually decrease corporate tax from 36 per cent to 12.5 per cent by 2003.

Thus Ireland has been in the tax incentive game for close on 50 years. If the Celtic Tiger was built on the back of significant multinational investment in the domestic economy, no one here will let go of that any time soon.

Over a turkey lunch last Thursday with Silver Ridge Chardonnay and French Tom red, US-Irish business people celebrating Thanksgiving Day heard Brian Cowen pledge yet again to maintain the rate at 12.5 per cent.

As the boom times continue, they have much to give thanks for.

  • George

    Interesting stuff Peteb,
    good to see so many people coming out in favour of maintaining the low corporate tax rate in the face of rumblings of discontent from the United States and Germany.

    After all, as Ireland has a veto on this, which can’t be reviewed by the EU even in the future, it is Ireland’s to give away. It should be made perfectly clear, it won’t.

  • Henry94

    Wow. Let’s unite with those guys.

  • ch in texas

    The key here is Irelands productivity per hour. A country must produce goods and services efficiently to stay competetive, and then not overly tax the fruits of that labor. The continent has it backwards. Unions discourage work and job creation and then let the gov. take too much in taxes.

  • barnshee


    Crucial here was the absence of Irish legislation on the price that companies must pay to transfer technology or intellectual capital from a unit in another country into Ireland. This makes it easier to execute such a transfer and, coupled with the stamp duty exemption, it also provides an incentive to do so. ”

    Hilarious– the old scam of transfer pricing to move profits to low or no tax havens is one of the oldest tax evasion processes going and is dressed up as “the absence of Irish legislation on the price that companies must pay ” The whole government is in on it- as I say hilarious (and incidentally illegal under any proper tax regime)

  • Lovis

    the Irish government is not breaking a tax law and the article says the improvement started over 10 years before the coporate tax change. The American government is to change its laws to change this situation with yahoo and microsoft if there is a problem.
    These companies have a base in Ireland and are not brass plate on a door companies. That is why so many Europeans work there. You only need one person to polish a plate.

  • Crataegus

    If all countries reduced Corporation tax to 12.5% would we all suddenly be better off? It only works if you have an advantage over others and the points barnshee raised are valid.

  • Elvis Parker

    Ireland has done very well economically in recent years this article shows that low tax is at the core of that success. Ahern et al must pray nightly that the UK continue to fend off the EU’s crazy tax harmonisation agenda.
    (Ironic or what Henry94)

  • Scotsman

    Surely Ireland has gained from a number of factors:

    1- Access to foreign markets since joining the EU and with the rise of the WTO
    2- Ability to export unemployment to the UK (and even the USA etc) during hard times before the mid-90’s
    3- Globalisation of knowledge and technology increasing any small country’s ability to benefit from this eg Singapore
    4- Decoupling from Sterling then joining its currency to a bigger market
    5- Close links with friendly US investors thanks to emigrants with long memories- and the English language
    6- A policy of targeting said investors with attractive policies and gaining from foreign know-how and capital.
    7- A willingness to sacrifice wage growth to boost productivity at crucial times.

    I’m sure there are many other reasons, but that doesn’t mean they should be a model for other countries.

    Clealry, Ireland has gone past “catch up” and is now ahead of most of its European partners economically. Yet Ireland doesn’t feel like the 2nd richest country in Europe- although you certainly need to be rich to buy a round of drinks there.

    One thing’s for sure, when the growth stops, it won’t be revived by further cuts to corporation tax. What’s surely required is innovation among resident firms- indigenous or foreign.

  • George

    Elvis,
    Ireland has its own tax veto so it is for Ireland to give it away, not for Britain to defend. Sure pressure would grow if Britain buckled but Ireland could still refuse.

    Scotsman,

    The ability to export your educated youth which the country had spent a fortune on educating only to see other countries reap the reward can in no way be seen as a beneficial factor. You used to have to pay a £10 exit tax to leave the country in the 80s.

    As for decoupling from Sterling I agree. Charles Haughey take a bow.

    Although it did lead to huge problems initially as the punt had to be devalued several times to help exports to the UK and the entire country’s reserves were wasted fending of Soros prior to ERM.

    Americans (even Irish ones) will only invest if it makes economic sense. Sentimentality doesn’t enter into it. The fact Ireland speaks English and has a very American way of life probably helped.

    Barnshee,
    what part of the Irish tax system is illegal under EU law?

  • seabhac siulach

    Do I detect some sore grapes…surely, if reducing corporation tax to 12.5% was the only thing necessary to having the best economy in Europe, then other countries would be doing it. What about the stability pacts negotiated with the unions? I think these also played a part, amongst many other things; political stability, english speaking population, good education system, large supply of young people, flexible civil service, lack of red tape, historical ties to the US, etc., etc.

    Those in the 6 counties, Scotland or Wales can only look on in envy and see what an independent small country can do when it is not shackled to England…
    The 26 counties has the ability, independently, to shape its own independent economic agenda, without having to beg the English for handouts…
    We must wait for the unionists to realise this fact, eventually…or can they seriously argue that at present they are better off in the union (water charge increases, schools in chaos, hospitals closing down, public sector to see large job cuts, no money for the roads)? But then, having the queen on the stamps has its price…

  • seabhac siulach

    That should, of course, be sour grapes…not sure what sore grapes are, but sounds painful…

  • Elvis Parker

    SS
    “Ireland has its own tax veto so it is for Ireland to give it away, not for Britain to defend. Sure pressure would grow if Britain buckled but Ireland could still refuse.”
    Dont be naive it is primarily the UK that stops it.

    “if reducing corporation tax to 12.5% was the only thing necessary to having the best economy in Europe, then other countries would be doing it.”
    which is precisely what is happening! Why do you think that the Czech Republic is referred to as the ‘new Ireland’?
    Incidentially all the wee former Soviet countries that have cut taxes radically are also part of the anti harmonisation coalition that is headed up by the UK.

    “Those in the 6 counties, Scotland or Wales can only look on in envy and see what an independent small country can do when it is not shackled to England… ”
    During most of the past 30 years the UK paid into the EU very similiar amounts to what the Republic drew down. Only when these payments come to an end will the true strength of the economy be tested (incidentally I think it will weather this)

    “hospitals closing down”
    Irish Times carried an interesting report on Tue noting that Republics Health and Social Services compares very poorly to NI

  • George

    Elvis,
    “Dont be naive it is primarily the UK that stops it.”

    Could you tell me what the UK has to do with Ireland’s 12.5% Corporate Tax Rate and how anything it does will effect Ireland’s perpetual veto on it then?

    Ireland has its own veto and last time I looked, it was a sovereign, independent state. In other words, it is for Ireland to give away.

    True, things will be more difficult if Britain buckles but it is for Ireland to give away not for Britain. That is the bottom line.

    The pressure is on right now for Ireland to give away its corporate tax rate advantage, with Germany especially trying to turn the screws.

    Britain doesn’t enter that equation. In fact, Britain hasn’t said a word.

    By the way Northern Ireland got three times as much EU money as the Republic except it wasted it.

    “Irish Times carried an interesting report on Tue noting that Republics Health and Social Services compares very poorly to NI”

    Not exactly true. It carried a report saying services to the elderly such as home help, meals on wheels, chiropody etc. were better up north. It also concluded that both were crap when compared to the rest of Europe.

    In other words, both need to invest to get up to scratch. Which side is investing? Health expenditure south of the border is now 1,000 euros per capita more, per year.

    That is why hospitals in Northern Ireland are closing down and ones in the Republic are opening up.

    This is evidenced by waiting lists for surgical procedures (49,000 north of the border, 10,000 south).

    As for being a pensioner, I’d rather be in France or Germany but at least pension is much more substantial in the south.

  • Elvis Parker

    “Britain doesn’t enter that equation. In fact, Britain hasn’t said a word.”
    You really should get out more!

    “both need to invest to get up to scratch. Which side is investing?”
    Badly informed again mate UK inc NI is pouring money into the NHS – expenditure unfortunately doesnt guarantee outcomes

    “hospitals in Northern Ireland are closing down and ones in the Republic are opening up.”
    Thats just over simplitic crap. The problem in NI is the failure to move to bigger more specialist units years ago so to deliver better services – services that incidentally dont even exist in the Republic outside of Dublin.

    Again there was a recent report showing many living just south of the border would be much better porvided for if the could access NHS

  • George

    Elvis,
    Britain doesn’t enter that equation. In fact, Britain hasn’t said a word.”
    You really should get out more! ”

    Could you show me where Britain has passed comment to the EU on Ireland’s corporate tax rate Elvis rather than starting on the gratuitous comments. I haven’t heard anything.

    “Badly informed again mate UK inc NI is pouring money into the NHS – expenditure unfortunately doesnt guarantee outcomes ”

    The Irish Republic is putting in €1000 more per man, woman and child, which doesn’t mean the UK isn’t putting money into the NHS. It just isn’t putting in as much.

    That is the point. In 10 years time, where will the NI NHS be compared to the health service of the Republic? Both are crap today. Which one will improve in the future? I know where my money is on.

    20 years ago, roads in Northern Ireland were way better than south of the border, now it’s the reverse.

    Billions are being pumped in by the British over the next decade but it is still only 10% of the Republic’s projected transport spend in the next decade. In other words, it will fall further behind. The same will happen with health.

    “Again there was a recent report showing many living just south of the border would be much better porvided for if the could access NHS”

    Sure and this is because the Irish Health service can afford to pay for patients to go abroad because the money is there.

    This is one reason why there are now only 10,000 on waiting lists for surgical procedures south of the border and 49,000 on waiting lists north of the border.

    It’s a wild new idea called accessing all available facilities to improve service.

    If flying someone to the UK for an operation means not waiting for an operation, this is a credit to the Irish Health service not to the NHS.

    If the NHS had no waiting lists, I’d say well done but it doesn’t.

  • barnshee

    George
    “what part of the Irish tax system is illegal under EU law? ”

    Connivance at transfer pricing to move to “favourable” tax regimes —

    It can carry the seeds of its own destruction as 1 other countries copy the system and
    2 the losers (e.g. USA) catch them by comparing “home” prices with export prices –big fines all round.

  • George

    Barnshee,
    well if there’s a case, see you in court then. Ireland has a legal tax system that is sanctioned by the EU and recognised internationally.

    Personally, I take it as the Bush administration feeling the heat for a huge budget deficit, so it has started throwing punches through the pliant New York Times.

    Let it close the transfer-pricing “loophole” then and we’ll see how many US companies slap him on the back for that.

    The International Herald Tribune said the twist already is that companies like Microsoft and Google are also moving more and more jobs to Ireland so this whole discussion could soon become moot.

    It’s idea to solve the “problem”?

    Close the loopholes in Congress and….. you got it….. slash corporate tax rates down to Irish levels.

  • Ringo

    Bush administration feeling the heat for a huge budget deficit, so it has started throwing punches through the pliant New York Times

    That’s probably unlikely George – the Bushies despise the NYT. In terms of it being pliant, it was the most outspoken(although that is far to strong a word in the context) element of the mainstream US media against the build-up to war in 2002/2003 – it was lukewarm when everyone else was waving flags.

    It is more likely to be elements in Congress rather than the Bush administration that are creating a fuss about this.

    Regardless, I’d say it is bluster. The US isn’t going to alter fiscal policy under pressure from little Ireland or Singapore. Cutting taxes would do nothing to help the budget deficit in the short term – and it is short term benefit that Republican Congressmen and Senators need with mid-term elections coming.

  • Elvis Parker

    “the preferential tax treatment that Ireland has applied to certain types of company and geographical area, in effect disguised state aid, would count as unfair tax competition. A working group chaired by a British minister, Dawn Primarolo, is examining more than 80 such cases. The plan is to deal with examples of unfair competition through discussion and peer-group pressure rather than EU directives.”
    Katy Ussher former UK Special Adviser, Labour MP – who was raised in Ireland

  • seabhac siulach

    “through discussion and peer-group pressure”

    Yep, that should work…as if…mere blustering of second-rate Labour politicians.

    Each country has the right to decide their own tax rate. It’s that simple.

    And, besides, it is not all about the tax rate…productivity and other factors are also important. Why the incessant focus on the corporation tax rate?

    Also, 26 county Ireland does not take orders from unaccountable Brit. ministers, anymore, thank God…unlike the 6 county statelet. And, guess what? The 26 counties are booming, while the 6 counties are not…

    Wishful thinking on the part of some (particularly those of the unionist persuasion) will not change the economic success of the 26 counties…all economic forecasts show that the 26 county economy is due for sustained future growth.

    As I said, sour grapes!

  • George

    Elvis,
    Firstly, this was written in 1999 and things have moved on:

    “Back in the mid-1990s, the EU told us it was no longer feasible to tax blow-ins at a lower rate than our domestic business heroes. We assured the disgruntled French and Germans that we’d sort it out — and promptly slashed the tax for everyone, introducing a single company rate of 12.5% in 2003.

    It was a stroke of a genius.”

    Frank Fitzgibbon: Sunday Times 27th November, 2005. That sorts out the main issues brought up by Ussher. Ireland is in the clear on this. Perpetual veto. As Frank says, stroke of genius.

    I think she is also referring to the previous Irish government aid packages to firms like Intel which had to be withdrawn earlier this year because of European state aid rules.

    The Irish government is fighting that ruling on whether the Intel grant is state aid at the moment by the way.

    Anyway, that is all irrelevant to what I asked which was can you show me anywhere where the British government have spoken out in support of Ireland in the recent furore over corporate tax.

    On health,
    “Even with a budget of £3.5 billion Northern Ireland still has the longest waiting lists in Europe and, for all the recent initiatives, there appears to be no resolution in sight.”

    UUP Health spokesperson Health Spokesman Rev Dr Robert Coulter only last week.

  • Pete Baker

    While the Irish Times article excerpted above does concentrate on the corporate tax rate, it’s worth pointing out that the focus of the Work for All article is much more about the spread of the tax burden – in particular the higher percentage of the total obtained, in comparison with other EU countries, from consumption.. rather than from capital or labour.

  • Fergal

    Elvis, I knew it would only be a matter of time before you threw in that old chestnut about EU funding. EU funding accounted for about 1.6% of GDP at peak and a lot less now.

    This oft repeated mistake (lie) is only ever heard to eminate from the UK. It seems that many can’t let go of the idea that if Ireland is doing well, it must be someone else helping them. In short, its simply anti-Irishness.

  • Ringo

    Pete

    The tax on consumption rather than labour and capital often comes in the form of indirect taxes such as VAT, Vehicle Registration Tax and excise duties. These indirect taxes are often criticised here because everyone pays the same rate on these taxes and are seen as less equitable than the income taxation. After reading this I’m not so sure – maybe the benefits in taxing consumption/indirect taxes win out on balance.

  • barnshee

    George
    “well if there’s a case, see you in court then. Ireland has a legal tax system that is sanctioned by the EU and recognised internationally”

    I have no problems with the ROI tax system –my problem is with “transfer pricing” and “management charges” which move revenue out from the country (where it was earned) to another country where it will avoid or mitigate any tax charge.

    What happens when the boot is on the other foot and ROI companies migrate their profits to eg Bermuda (As I believe some already do) ? Is that satisfactory?
    Is it fair for example for Barclays UK to migrate its entire Insurance revenue -earned in the UK– to ROI to avoid tax?

    Incidentally I am wholly opposed to any taxation of any discription Goverments just waste it anyway –if we do have to have tax systems they should be fair and equitable and beggering you neighbours is counterproductive in the long term.

    “By the way Northern Ireland got three times as much EU money as the Republic except it wasted it”

    (Correction the ROI was and remains the biggest benificiary of EC funds per head of population trouncing its nearest rival’ Greece by a factor of 5)

  • Elvis Parker

    George
    “Also, 26 county Ireland does not take orders from unaccountable Brit. ministers, anymore, thank God…unlike the 6 county statelet. And, guess what? The 26 counties are booming, while the 6 counties are not… ”
    “can you show me anywhere where the British government have spoken out in support of Ireland in the recent furore over corporate tax.”
    Maybe something is lost in the medium or maybe you are just to narrow minded to read properly.
    I have merely been pointing out that when it comes to low tax the UK and the Republic are on the same side – is your nationalism so warped that you cannot even bring yourself to realise the UK is Ireland’s biggest ally on this?
    Actually both economies are booming – NI has been one of the fastest growing regions in UK for many years now – and its not all Govt spending figures out yesterday showed good results in manufacturing and exporting. But as a nationalist you cannot admit this.
    I believe NI’s economy will continue to improve – alongside that of the Republic’s now that violent nationalism has realised to error and pointless of its evil campaign

    On Health spending I think we are all agreed both systems have problems and money is the main one.

    Fergal EU funding “simply anti-Irishness” so am anti myself am I Fergal?. Again read what I said – it is all historically accurate – and as I said not a factor much anymore

  • Elvis Parker

    Sorry on Health money is NOT the problem – bureaucracy and wastage is

  • George

    Barnshee,
    The region known as Northern Ireland received three times as much EU money per capita as the state known as Ireland.

    The region known as Northern Ireland wasted it. Ignore this if you want but them’s the facts. Until people in Northern Ireland face up to fact the place is wasting and has wasted money hand over fist, nothing will ever change.

    As I already pointed out to you on a previous thread, Ireland received €396 per capita in net receipts from the EU in 2004 compared to €377 per capita for Greece.

    Ireland will be a net contributor in the next budgetary cycle.

    On tax and tax burden, I’m with Charlie McCreevy: debt is the biggest stealth tax of all. Ireland has a national debt at 30% of GDP, the second lowest after Luxembourg.

  • George

    Elvis,
    I wouldn’t use terms like “unaccountable Brit ministers”, you must have confused me with someone else with that quote.

    “Maybe something is lost in the medium or maybe you are just to narrow minded to read properly.
    I have merely been pointing out that when it comes to low tax the UK and the Republic are on the same side – is your nationalism so warped that you cannot even bring yourself to realise the UK is Ireland’s biggest ally on this?”

    Firstly, I think we can do without the gratuitous sections of the above comment. If you simply pointed out that the UK and Ireland were on the same side, I would have been in total agreement.

    I took issue with your “Dont be naive it is primarily the UK that stops it”.

    Ireland has its own veto which you seem to refuse to accept. I am merely pointing to you that it is for Ireland and Ireland alone to give up its veto.

    As I said earlier, if Britain buckles, the storm might be bigger but weather it Ireland can and should. It has a perpetual veto on its corporate tax rate, which is never up for review by the EU. Britain doesn’t enter into that decision. Ireland is a sovereign, independent state remember.

    “Actually both economies are booming – NI has been one of the fastest growing regions in UK for many years now – and its not all Govt spending figures out yesterday showed good results in manufacturing and exporting.”

    Are we looking at the same figures?
    Manufacturing in Northern Ireland has dropped 16% since 2000.

    GNI is 79.1% of UK average as opposed to 79% in 1997. It will catch up in 735 years at this rate. Is that what you call “one of the fastest growing”?
    Don’t believe the hype, as an equal can I get this through to you (Chuck D).

    There have been 100,000 jobs created in recent years and there has been around 100,000 increase on incapacity benefit.

    “But as a nationalist you cannot admit this.”

    I am not a nationalist, I am an Irish citizen. I have nothing to be nationalist about as I already have a nation thank you very much.

    “I believe NI’s economy will continue to improve –alongside that of the Republic’s now that violent nationalism has realised to error and pointless of its evil campaign ”

    Sure there has been movement but too little. All the core problems remain.

    As long as people in Northern Ireland refuse to accept that root and branch reform is necessary and that root and branch reform has yet to take place, things will never change.

    64% of NI’s GDP is generated by the public sector. That’s government cash in plain English.

    You continue to believe the fairy tale that Northern Ireland is booming if you want.