Saturday 29 November 2014

Kenny defends Yahoo's move from Switzerland to Ireland

Colm Kelpie in Paris

Published 08/02/2014 | 02:30

Enda Kenny, left, signs the golden book while the head of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Angel Gurria, center, and Ireland's Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Eamon Gilmore, right, sit next to him at the OECD headquarters in Paris

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny said in Paris that Yahoo's decision to move its data-processing operations to Ireland was a commercial decision as he again defended Ireland's tax regime.

His defence yesterday came as a senior official with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said the global organisation was trying to close down tax loopholes, such as the 'Double Irish'.

Grace Perez-Navarro said it wasn't in Ireland's interest to allow it because the State wasn't receiving any corporate revenue from it.

Yahoo looks set to attract a privacy audit from the Irish Data Protection Commissioner after informing the watchdog that it is moving all of its data-processing facilities from Europe to Ireland.

The internet giant, which is currently struggling with falling sales, also informed its European customers that it was increasing its Dublin workforce.

But the move has made headlines in French newspaper 'Le Monde' amid claims the decision was taken for tax reasons. It will likely cast the spotlight further on the tax regime in Ireland and multinationals.

"This is a commercial decision by Yahoo. It is not a directed decision from anybody,'' Mr Kenny said.

''We have all of these companies in Ireland and the cluster impact creates its own energy and its own dynamism and it's own structure.

"Ireland has been very forthright and very upfront about our corporate tax position."

Ms Perez-Navarro, deputy director of the OECD centre for tax policy and administration, said the OECD was trying to close down loopholes through its global tax work and attempt to increase transparency.

She said the 'Double Irish' was one of the loopholes and she said the OECD was working with all countries to try to eliminate them.

"As you know, through the Double Irish, Ireland doesn't get any corporate revenue from that so it's not in Ireland's interests to have that,'' she said.

CLEVER

"It's in Ireland's interest to attract businesses that create jobs and businesses that pay their 12.5pc corporate tax.''

"If they're (Yahoo) moving there because of the attractive corporate tax rate, that's one thing. If they're moving there because of loopholes, these loopholes are going to be closed down, so it's not a clever move.''

The Taoiseach, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore, Education Minister Ruairi Quinn, Jobs Minister Richard Bruton and Social Protection Minister Joan Burton attended meetings at the OECD's headquarters in Paris yesterday to discuss Ireland after the bailout.

Mr Kenny said the OECD had particular expertise that was valuable to Ireland in particular sectors. "The OECD don't tell us what to do but they look at the circumstances and give advice that they think would be in Ireland's interest," he said

Mr Gilmore said the Government is not basing the recovery around a return to the Celtic Tiger years.

"We're not planning a return to the Celtic Tiger years. One of the things that we discovered was that tigers can be unpredictable, dangerous, and are best admired in the wild,'' he said.

Angel Gurria, OECD Secretary General, said Ireland needed to "row twice as hard'' in order to ensure recovery amid global challenges.

Irish Independent

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