Between a rock and a hard place
Proposals by France and Germany to speed up progress to a common EU corporate tax base, which will be submitted at tomorrow's summit of EU leaders, could potentially lead to the most serious crisis in Ireland's relations with Europe since we first joined the then-European Economic Community in 1973.
As Finance Minister Michael Noonan emphasised once again in his Budget speech on Tuesday, our low 12.5pc company tax rate is crucial to our economic well-being. As we seek to cope with the worst economic downturn since independence, exports, most of which come from the Irish-based operations of multinationals, have been one of the few bright spots.
If, by some misfortune, the multinationals were to up sticks and leave this country, something that would almost certainly happen if the 12.5pc tax rate were to be raised, then the outlook would be truly grim. Which is why we must protect our company tax rate at all costs.