Monday 29 May 2017

Pressure on Kenny for concession ahead of bailout cut

Fionnan Sheahan Political Editor

THE Government last night reiterated that Ireland's corporation tax rate is not up for grabs as a cut in the interest rate on the bailout was negotiated.

Meanwhile, a new opinion poll revealed that Taoiseach Enda Kenny's performance on the international stage was going down well with the public.

However, Mr Kenny is under mounting pressure from Germany and France to give some concession on corporation tax in return for a 1pc cut to the bailout repayment rate.

The pressure on the Government to agree a common set of rules across the EU for paying corporation tax was cranked up at an EU finance ministers meeting at the weekend.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schauble said the Government would have to make some gesture in return for the interest-rate reduction.

He pointed directly at agreement on the common EU tax base and warned of the consequences of Ireland not granting a concession.

"It is a step in the right direction. If Ireland, for its part, doesn't want to make any changes, then there is no willingness on the side of the (German) government to make changes," he said.

The summit was attended by Finance Minister Michael Noonan, who held talks with his French counterpart Christine Lagarde and Mr Schauble.

Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton said the Government would not accept any changes in the corporation tax rate.

"There is no shift in our position," he said.

Support for the main parties since the general election is largely unchanged.

The Red C opinion poll in the 'Sunday Business Post' put Fine Gael on 39pc, Labour on 18pc, Fianna Fail on 16pc, Sinn Fein on 11pc and Independents on 16pc.

Compared to the 2011 general election result, Fine Gael is up three points, the Labour Party is down 1pc, Fianna Fail is down 1pc, Sinn Fein is up 1pc and Independents and others are down 1pc.

Performing

The Government is performing well so far, with 35pc of voters saying they are impressed, 30pc saying they are not and 35pc who don't know.

Mr Kenny's high-profile visits to Washington and Brussels resulted in 43pc concluding he had represented Ireland well in negotiations abroad, 22pc saying he had not and 35pc who don't know.

But there is anger at the failure of the Government to burn bondholders as part of the banking strategy, with 41pc saying they are angry the coalition is not following through on its pledge, 33pc disagreeing and 26pc who don't know.

Meanwhile, Fianna Fail leader Micheal Martin will announce his frontbench in the coming days. Fianna Fail deputy leader Brian Lenihan will remain as finance spokesman.

Irish Independent

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