Challenge to Apple ruling like refusing lotto jackpot
As the tax evasion circus around the Apple ruling continues, it is difficult to understand the approach that the government is taking in turning down a €13 billion windfall, plus interest, that has been deemed by the European Commission to be due to us.
It is akin to someone winning the lotto and refusing to collect it. It ought to be considered to be the ultimate Irish joke.
Surely, it is Apple who ought to be challenging this ruling, since their tax affairs were based on Irish tax arrangements that were acceptable to successive Irish governments, which were put in place under Fianna Fáil governments, so it is easy to see why Fianna Fáil are supporting this challenge.
While trying to legitimise what has happened, both of those parties had no issue imposing the harshest of austerity measures against their own people, at the behest of the EU, without any challenge, and yet they are not prepared to tackle the tax affairs of some corporate elites.
It is ironic to think that successive Irish governments have enforced bureaucratic EU rules and regulations on so many sections of our community, be it against the farming community, the fishing industry and on those who wish to cut turf — the list is endless - — yet they are not prepared to accept this windfall.
Of course the real reason for Ireland’s legal challenge is that the government and Fianna Fáil don’t wish to be seen in the eyes of the world that they have been complicit in tax avoidance schemes with this multi billion corporation and possibly others.
In effect they are trying to hide the corrupt political system that has prevailed in this country for many decades, which has resulted in some of their members been embroiled in tribunals.
Based on the EU ruling, it draws the conclusion that Apple got special treatment so as to gain competitive advantage over other companies, which the government are denying. With their approach, the government are unwittingly admitting that other companies did get similar concessions, a point on which they may lose their legal challenge.
In trying to camouflage and twist the issue in the eyes of the public and the EU, Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil know their credibility is at stake and are engaged in all kinds of diversionary political language so as to try and cover their tracks. They are prepared to spend any amount of taxpayers’ money in the process.
It is disappointing that our political leaders appear to have been playing such a leading role in tax schemes for billionaires while contributing to increased inequality among their own people in the process.
With the extraordinary arguments they are both putting forward for this legal challenge, it is obvious that they do not even believe them themselves. Or if they do, they have become very naive and think that the public are just as naive.
Ending Syrian misery overdue
I am astounded and in complete awe that the US and Russia have agreed a ceasefire deal with President Bashar Al Assad and the Free Syrian Army.
The ceasefire hopefully will see the end of hostilities between the two, the opening of humanitarian corridors and the cessation of chemical attacks on civilians. By uniting, the forces loyal to Al Assad, Hezbollah, The FSA, the Kurds, the USA Army and Russia Army will have one common objective — to rid Syria of extremist Islamic forces.
Interestingly, the agreement indirectly announces the end of the Al Assad dynasty. It has finally become clear to all involved, that peace can only last without an Al Assad at the helm.
The ceasefire is an indication that the world powers are starting to take a more realpolitik approach to the conflict, which will hopefully see the end of hostilities, prevent further bloodshed and most importantly stem the flow of refugees into Lebanon, Jordan and the European Union.
The Syrian people have suffered enough. It is time to end their misery and allow them to return to some semblance of normal life, especially the traumatised children if anyone.
Cllr Nugent’s take on 1916 skewed
The SF Cllr Mick Nugent (Irish Examiner Letters, Sept 10) has an interesting take on facts.
The 1916 declaration of an Irish Republic no more created an actual Republic than me declaring my kitchen to be an independent State. So the argument that the IRA was the official army of a State that didn’t exist does not give the IRA of that time a free pass for their murders, which is what they carried out.
In the 1918 general election Sinn Féin did win 73 seats out of 105 but it received less than half the popular vote and 25 of those seats were unopposed. Hardly an unstoppable mandate.
Another fact SF/IRA propagandists choose to ignore is that given the choice of a united Ireland infected by the poison released by de Valera and Sinn Féin in the War of Independence, or cutting off the most infected limb in the North East corner of the island, the majority chose to support the removal of the limb. The island of Ireland was divided because nationalists could live in peace with other communities, not the other way around.
It is a nonsense to pander to the delusions of people like Cllr Nugent who live off the fantasy that the 1916 Rising gave any legitimacy. It had no mandate from the Irish people and what flowed from it had no mandate either.
Therefore, the only logical conclusion is that, if we are discussing popular legitimacy, it is the decision to support the Treaty in December 1922, taken by the elected representatives to an internationally recognised Dáil Éireann, that is the starting point for legitimate acts of an Irish Republic.
If we’re picking moments where decisions taken on behalf of the people have credibility then 1916 has none. Those who stake their claim to history on the myth of 1916 have as much legitimacy as the Republic of my kitchen.
Safeguarding tenants way to go
Since the crash in 2008 it’s becoming increasingly obvious the chances of future generations owning their own home are very slim and the strong liklihood of long term renting will become a reality for a lot of people, unfortunately.
Given this state of affairs, proper regulation in the rental sector must be put in place to protect the tenants.
Accordingly, the arrival of the deposify system will be welcomed as we have all heard stories of unscrupulous landlords retaining deposits of departing tenants without any good reason.
This new initiative sounds positive and should put a stop to this illegal practice once and for all when tenants have to fork out huge deposits to get a roof over their heads.
Barbaric game bird shooting must stop
I could not agree more with Nuala Donlon´s well written letter (Irish Examiner, Sept 6).
She was awoken very early by the sound of relentless gunfire surrounding her house, first day of the shooting season, open season on our wildfowl species. Our indiginous animals blown to smithereens by gunmen intent on having a bit of fun. How is this behaviour permitted in this so-called modern, enlightened age?
Pheasants, duck, grouse and many other game-birds as they are so called are easy prey to the well armed gunmen with high powered rifles. These birds are lulled into a false sense of security over the last eight months of relative peace. Suddenly, as they rise to the sky in fright by a hunting dog, they are brought down by a wide circle of lead pellets. This is not sport, this is barbarism disguised as some form of acceptable human manly behaviour.
The idea of a man hunting wild animals for the table is ridiculous. Today´s hunters are armed with the most expensive rifles in the world, costing thousands of euro, not to mention the expensive ammo.
We should cherish these beautiful creatures. The population of Ireland is approximately four million people. Why, then, should we let a small percentage go on the rampage for three or four months killing everything that moves, not out of hunger but sport?
Papering over the cracks is fruitless
The reasons why our wonderful country is going down the drain are becoming clearer and clearer as our various governments blunder on.
Looking only at the banking crisis, hospital crisis, environmental crisis (dumping et al), toxic water crisis, mental health crisis and even the refugee crisis, it is clear that not one hugely overpaid TD is interested in trying to tackle the problems efficiently at root. Extorting more and more money from us to buy expensive paper to put over all the cracks and push through their PR machine is clearly indicative of the Alice-in-Wonderland world that they all inhabit. It’s almost as though they expect us to regard their incompetence as a sign of their sincerity.