If the ever-increasing flow of corporation tax from American multinationals with Irish bases to national coffers seems too good to be true it may be because it probably is.
If our growing reliance on that fickle income stream seems reckless it may well be because it is. America regards those revenues as the prize in the international cat-and-mouse game called tax management. They also, rightly or wrongly, regard those revenues as theirs and want to repatriate them one way or another.
The announcement that Irish products, including Kerrygold and Baileys, face a 25% tariff in Trump’s America is one of those ways. The imposition followed a WTO ruling that allowed America charge almost €7bn in tariffs on European imports. Our farm and food sectors, so stridently opposed to the Mercosur deal, will buck.
However, American multinationals are now more important to our economy than agriculture. This fundamental shift will last as long as our current tax rules and when, if, they change hard decisions will be unavoidable.