Friday 15 December 2017

Noonan hails positive signals about Ireland

Finance Minister considers cuts in commercial stamp duty while Gilmore says nation has ambition to tackle problems

OPTIMISTIC: From left: former US president Bill Clinton, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and
Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore. Photo: Tony Gavin.
OPTIMISTIC: From left: former US president Bill Clinton, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore. Photo: Tony Gavin.


AT Dublin Castle last night, Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore, closing the Global Irish Economic Forum, said the scale of the challenge facing Ireland today was matched by our effort and our ambition.

"What matters now is that we take away the thoughts and ideas of yesterday and today and turn them into action tomorrow," he said.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny quoted Franklin D Roosevelt: "A nation must believe in three things: its past, its future and its people."

Elsewhere, significant cuts to stamp duty on commercial properties in December's Budget are to be considered, Finance Minister Michael Noonan said yesterday.

Speaking at Dublin Castle, he said delegates had impressed upon him that Ireland's commercial stamp duty rate was not competitive in comparison with that of the UK.

Giving a clear signal that he was listening to any ideas that could create jobs, Mr Noonan said: "Now the suggestion is that an American investor coming in to invest in Dublin, is he willing to give over his first six per cent of profit in stamp duty?

"If we were thinking about changing it, now is a good time because our take on stamp duty is so low anyway. It is always at the bottom of the market that you can change things."

Mr Noonan stressed that no decision had been taken and that this was just one of several ideas under consideration.

"Don't take this as a commitment," he said. "But there is a problem in the commercial property market, which is controlled by Nama. One of the big problems is that if you sell commercial property in London you pay one per cent in stamp duty. In Dublin, you pay six per cent."

Mr Noonan said many positive signals about Ireland were emerging from the Global Irish Economic Forum.

He made his comments on his way into a private economic session about job creation which took place under 'Chatham House rules'. This means that details of the discussions were not given to the media and participants agreed to keep them confidential.

Earlier yesterday, broadCaster Matt Cooper chaired a discussion entitled 'Promoting Irish Culture', which also included contributions from actor Gabriel Byrne, comedian Dara O Briain and Arts Minister Jimmy Deenihan.

Mr Byrne said education was the key to our economic future. He said we all know culture is our calling card.

Author Colm Toibin said we had to make sure that the arts work done in Ireland was properly funded first, and consolidated, in order for it to then matter as something that we can export.

Sunday Independent

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