Relations stalled as talk turns to our tax
Thorny issue of our corporation rate was central at meetings with French ministers, writes Aoife Drew
While there was a feeling of 'oui, nous pouvons' (is feidir linn) among Team Ireland in Paris this week, it very much remains to be seen if France, in particular French President Nicolas Sarkozy, will really budge on the thorny issues clouding the Franco-Irish relationship.
With the trade mission to Paris including Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamonn Gilmore and Finance Minister Michael Noonan, the mood at the Irish embassy in Paris was 'montrez-nous l'argent' (show us the money). The place was hopping with serious nervous energy and maybe a hope that our run of recent diplomatic success on the visits of the Queen and US President Barack Obama could rub off in the city of light.
The visit was held against the backdrop of celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). On the agenda were meetings with Ministers Alain Juppe and Christine Lagarde, potential investors into Ireland, as well as the official opening of a Paris office for Irish company Realex, an online payment service.