Wednesday 7 December 2016

Low-tax policies created the Tiger

Published 24/10/2004 | 00:11

ANYONE who argues, as the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) does, that Ireland's low-tax regime was not a cornerstone of our recent economic success, must be living in some parallel universe. To claim that lower tax on income, capital and corporations has not greatly facilitated the rapid rate of economic growth, or indeed the huge surge in employment in this economy, is

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ANYONE who argues, as the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) does, that Ireland's low-tax regime was not a cornerstone of our recent economic success, must be living in some parallel universe. To claim that lower tax on income, capital and corporations has not greatly facilitated the rapid rate of economic growth, or indeed the huge surge in employment in this economy, is fanciful in the extreme. And yet this is what the ICTU contends in its latest document: 'Tax cuts did not create the Celtic Tiger.'

In the late Eighties some 1.2 million people worked in the economy, a figure little changed since the foundation of this State in 1922. Currently, there are 1.8 million in employment, a 50 per cent increase in less than two decades. This expanded workforce now includes many who have returned from abroad to work here, who were forced to emigrate in the barren Eighties. The Ireland they left behind was a land of high tax, high unemployment, high debt, high emigration, one of low growth, little opportunity, and less hope. Today, one-third of immigrants are returning Irish nationals, and for many the Ireland of their homecoming is unrecognisable from the place they left, not least the low-tax regime that has released energy and enterprise, that has generated self-confidence, created jobs and helped raise living standards.

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