Thursday 25 April 2019

Video: Enda Kenny denies Ireland a magnet for corporate tax dodging

Thomas Molloy in Davos

TAOISEACH Enda Kenny denied Ireland is a haven for "unorthodox tax practices" and said the country's 12.5pc tax rate was transparent.

Mr Kenny was responding to questions about tax reform and further changes to European Union treaties but the issue of transfer pricing and low corporate taxes has become a hot potato in Europe and further afield.

Appearing uneasy at times, Mr Kenny said the Irish system was "very clear, very transparent" and would not be changed.

Earlier, UK Prime Minister David Cameron told the same audience that he was using his influence in the G8 group of industralised nations to clamp down on tax avoidance. While not singling out any country or country by name, his comments came weeks after several British politicians criticised Google's failure to pay taxes in Britain. Google uses its Dublin headquarters to route income around the world and reduce its tax bill.

Mr Kenny also repeated calls for further help from the rest of Europe to enable Ireland to return to the bond markets.

Ireland needs a deal on bank debt, Mr Kenny said several times during an event with Italian prime minister Mario Monti, Dutch counterpart Mark Rutte and Danish prime minister Helle Thornning-Schmidt.

"We cannot do it without support," Mr Kenny said at the World Economic Forum on the future of the euro zone. Addressing German concerns about a second deal sending the wrong signals to the markets, Mr Kenny said the markets "have factored in a solution and we hope that can be so."

Speaking just a few minutes after Mr Cameron had explained why he was holding a referendum on Europe, Mr Kenny said that "whatever happens, he would like "to see Britain remains central to the European Union."

Mr Kenny and Mr Monti were praised by Holland's Rutte for their courage. "They decided to take the helm of their countries in the most difficult of circumstances" and had done a great job, he added.

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