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 EU’s Civil Service, that Apple (a private company with approximately £600 billion in its savings account) must pay Ireland some €13 billion in unpaid taxes … Read 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 on with shocking regularity in all six counties. The latest was the destruction of Salterstown Orange hall in Ballyronan on the shores of Lough Neagh … Read more

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 locally might term a ballyhoo—has a little to do with taxes and computers, and a very great deal to do with the EU Competition Commissioner, … Read 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 the EU Commission’s implied offer of a €13 billion windfall from Apple because of real fears that wider FDI will dry up if other foreign … Read more

Local unhappiness at party’s treatment of McKay leads to 18 resignations…

Worth noting that this morning some in Sinn Fein in North Antrim were unhappy enough with the way Daithi McKay has been treated by his party that they resigned. The BBC report references a statement given to the Ballymena Guardian… Those who have resigned told the Ballymena Guardian it was “inconceivable” that they could remain in light of the way they believe Mr McKay was treated. They also criticised what they called the “anointing” of his successor without, they claim, … Read more

Adams still grappling with a paradox that has eluded Ireland since Redmond and Carson…

The other day a unionist friend joked about the fact that one of the shared attributes to both communities in Northern Ireland is a shared animosity towards England. His favourite jibe to Republican colleagues is “how bad must you be, if we prefer the English to you?” Ronan O’Brien who was an adviser in the last Irish government argues that there’s a useful comparison to be made between Gerry Adams’ accurate argument that unification depends on making the Republic more … Read 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 sound interesting if not original, particularly with regard to timing. Is something stirring over dealing with the past as outlined in the abortive Stormont House … Read more

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 Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness, the positive fruits of that partnership have always been more apparent than evident. And under the skin, relations have often … Read more

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 Strut.

Edward Carson, ‘No one on earth is so clearly the “typical Irishman”‘

Edward Carson rose in the Lords on December 3 1929 and made a number of points about the Irish Free State and the Privy Council, the legal forum the young Irish state was seeking to do away with. Interestingly, he called the Anglo-Irish Treaty the “Treaty of surrender and betrayal”.  On the matter of his identity, he said: “I am very proud as an Irishman to be a member of the British Empire.” He also said: “I was born and … Read 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 words, by referring to “dissidents” – disparate overlapping groups that use IRA or similar in their self-descriptions – media outlets are investing them with an undeserved political … Read 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 interview with the Times (£) he gives his thoughts on referendums and the massive difficulties of disengaging from the EU ( “years and years”). He … Read 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 – David Davis, Liam Fox and Boris Johnson, and the prime minister by the way – are very clear that they need to get on with … Read more

McGuigan re-appointment conveys a sense that Sinn Fein has “simply missed its window…”

So what does SF’s decision to replace Daithi McKay with the guy McKay himself replaced back in 2007, Phillip McGuigan, mean? North Antrim is no hotbed of radical nationalism. In his earlier role as MLA McGuigan was credited with creating a senior role for Sinn Fein in what had been solidly SDLP territory. No explanation was given at the time for his stepping down. But it is hardly indicative of a party with talent breaking down its door to get … Read more

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 an Olympic movement which has lost its way, its officials seduced by big money. See Forbes for more (it’s by me) . Pádraig Belton30 year old journalist … Read 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, demand she uncover her head and shoulders, then fine her for not exposing enough flesh. That’s close to what happened on a French beach yesterday. … Read 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 crisis, deal with it transparently and emerge stronger as a result?  If guilt proves to be  limited as is claimed, why should we all suffer? … Read more

Corbyn, the man who can’t even find a properly busy train in the UK:

CCTV photographs show Corbyn’s photograph sitting on the floor of a ‘ram-packed’ train actually was staged on a train full of unreserved seats – including the one he went back to sit in after.  Virgin’s press release: ‘Seats were available on the train in which Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn was filmed sitting on the floor, Virgin Trains has found.’ ‘CCTV footage taken from the train on August 11 shows Mr Corbyn and his team walked past empty, unreserved seats in … Read more