Irish Ambassador criticises
The Irish Ambassador to the UK took to twitter over this opinion piece by Simon Heffer:
“Not impressed at snide comments of Simon Heffer @Telegraph.
I can assure him there is precious little support in Ireland for an EU exit.
Simon Heffer, there’s lots going for Irish economy other than 12.5 per cent tax.
Highly educated, hard-working population, location within EU.
Compare Ireland’s economic performance 1922-73 with 1973-2017.
Demonstrates the value of EU membership for a country like ours.
1973: GDP per capita 60 per cent of EU av. Today 2nd in EU.”
Seems Heffer hit a nerve there.
But is he right? Let's take a look at the points he's making:
1. EU is aiming to get rid of Ireland's 12.5% corporate tax.
2. This 12.5% tax is about the only thing keeping Ireland economically viable.
3. Ireland will therefore want to leave the EU.
4. Hard border will not revive terrorism - that's just scaremongering.
Point 1 is correct, the EU is trying to harmonise corporate tax across the EU.
Point 2, though is really where the nerve was hit.
The ambassador says we have highly educated, hard-working population, location within EU, but that's a very week argument - same could be said about most EU countries. And the 2nd in EU GDP argument - well isn't that just the multinationals?
Heffer is correct - without the multinationals we would be a basket case - around 200k jobs and hundreds of thousands of jobs indirectly - about 20% of jobs in the private sector.
The multinationals, according to tax lawyer Suzanne Kelly says that multinational companies in Ireland pay 80% of corporation tax, 50% of PAYE and VAT, and 92% of customs and excise.
Point 3: If Ireland were forced to charge an EU rate - and no sweetheart rates, many people in Ireland would start calling for and EU exit, and if the UK gets a good trade deal, many people would support this.
According to a Red C poll published by the Sunday Business Post, on the 29th of January, 70% were in favour of Ireland remaining in the EU and 28% believed Ireland should leave the EU if Brexit leads to a hard border.
So 28% if a hard border, would be much higher if the EU goes after the corporate tax rate.
Point 4: Heffer is correct again. There is no support for violence from communities in the north and border checks won't affect most. Most of the checks will be of a commercial nature and probably won't affect ordinary people.
In fact the border may present 'opportunities' for those around the border.
Good hard hitting piece from Heffer - we are too sensitive in this country.