Friday 28 October 2016

Apple ruling shows why Ireland should quit the EU

Published 03/09/2016 | 02:30

European Commissioner for Violation of EU Treaties Margrethe Vestager Photo: REUTERS / Eric Vidal
European Commissioner for Violation of EU Treaties Margrethe Vestager Photo: REUTERS / Eric Vidal

The recent Apple ruling has highlighted that an 'IRE-OUT' discussion about whether Ireland should quit the EU needs to begin.

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Ireland, the country which has been the poster boy of Europe since the credit crisis, has now become subject to a very dubious European Commission ruling which will undoubtedly affect the country's ability to attract investment and create employment in the future.

That the EU - through the European Commission - is deciding to attack the Irish taxation policy at this moment in time is truly astonishing.

The British have decided to opt out. The Greeks reluctantly decided to opt in. The Italians are trying their utmost to forego European bank regulatory and capital requirements. All of which has created market turmoil and uncertainty across the EU region.

Ireland, on the other hand, has taken the severe pain that was enforced upon us, and more than any of the other crisis-hit countries has begun to come out the other side.

It is clear to me that the Irish economic improvement since the most recent crisis has had very little to do with strong relationships and aid from the European Union. Whether we like it or not, our economic recovery has largely been due to multinationals such as Google, Apple, Facebook, LinkedIn and so forth, basing themselves here, expanding offices here and creating employment, directly and indirectly, and boosting the local economy.

The European Union's approach now seems to be, rather than concentrating on efforts to right the wrongs of other EU nations, let's try to get a piece of the pie that has served to slightly improve economic conditions in Ireland.

The discussion about IRE-OUT needs to begin.

Daniel Kelly, Kerry

We should embrace ties with UK

There seems to have been a seismic shift in the thinking of the republican Left in Ireland due to Brexit.

Gone, seemingly, are their concerns over sovereignty, neutrality, austerity, and the big, bad bankers. There hasn't been a peep out of them about water charges since the EU dictat that they must be paid. The days of No to Nice and No to Lisbon are well and truly over for them, and the EU are now their new best mates.

This is an instinctive reaction on their part, based on fear, because they have realised that any break in ranks with the EU leaves Ireland with only one way to go - back towards the UK and Commonwealth.

Fear is evident right across the Irish political spectrum regarding any decision-making (What will the EU think? What will the EU say? What will the EU do?). The formulation of policy based on fear is not a good thing, except, perhaps, for the unelected EU officials that dictate it to elected governments in countries like Ireland.

Instead, let Ireland embrace and exploit its social, cultural, historic, and economic links with the UK and nations such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa, among others.

Peter Keating, Charleville, Co Cork

Hypocrisy of EU Commission

It seems somewhat hypocritical for the EU Commission to chastise Apple et al for legally managing their tax affairs to their advantage when they enjoy tax advantages, such as salaries exempt from national income taxes, not available to the general public.

Indeed, does the EU's secretive 'Economat' store in Brussels still exist, where access to an extensive range of low-priced (VAT free?) goods was strictly restricted to card-carrying members of the EU glitterati?

R Blackburn, Naul, Co Dublin

Jobs Minister's silence

The decision by the United Kingdom to withdraw from the European Union coupled with the Apple tax ruling could have a significant impact on Ireland's ability to retain and create jobs in the future.

It is therefore very surprising to me that we have had little if any input from the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O'Connor.

Pat Buchanan, Ballsbridge, Dublin

Slow response to Apple decision

There is an old saying in sporting circles: "fail to prepare, prepare to fail''.The lack of a full and robust Government response to Tuesday's EU €13bn tax ruling seems to have caught them all ''off-side''.

There appears to have not been enough preparation work done in advance, to find out what the judgment was going to be, agree a response - with full Cabinet backing - come out all guns blazing in the world media in an immediate and very strong defence of Irish tax laws, and get some support from our allies in Europe.

All this should have been done in advance, as it was well known for quite some time that this ruling was coming down the tracks. That it happened during the holiday season shows that we took our eye off the ball at a critical time in this very crucial game.

Now that we are playing catch-up, I hope that hard lessons can be learned, to avoid ever falling into this trap again, when future EU rulings are imminent.

Tom Towey, Cloonacool, Co Sligo

Stand up for older women

I regularly see articles about the unkind things said about the change in the appearance of women as they get older - as discussed by Lorraine Courtney (Irish Independent, September 1) - and it seems that usually women are most likely to be the unflattering commentators.

Ladies, you may be amazed to hear that there are many ageing men like myself who look beyond the surface and like to be in the company of women our own age, for all sorts of reasons - not least because they are likely to be more interesting. And anyway why would a younger women necessarily be attracted to an older man?

Please stop beating yourselves up about a natural progression that also happens to men, but with little comment, and which many men are happy to accept and appreciate in women. The vast majority of women, especially Irish women, do not become 'invisible' - to normal men at least - and are still attractive after 'a certain age'. So please let's stand up for the older women rather more often than we do.

Michael Buckley, White Hart Lane, London

Irish Independent

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