FINANCE Minister Michael Noonan’s curt nothing-to-see-here dismissal of the Oxfam charge that Ireland is one of the world’s leading tax havens does him, our Government, and this society no credit.
The claim that Ireland is sixth among the world’s top 15 countries prepared to offer flexible tax arrangements may be off the mark but you don’t need to be Actuary of The Year to understand that it may not be that far off the mark. After all, it is unlikely that so many of the world’s glitzy hi-tech firms base themselves on this small island on the edge of Europe because they like the conversation in the pubs or the climate.
Mr Noonan’s “nobody-will-take-them-seriously” dismissal is also spectacularly out of touch. Has he not noticed the great changes, driven by electorates fed up of established politics and their failure to control multi-national corporations?
However, the saddest element of his response is obvious — if a figure as powerful as Mr Noonan really believes Ireland is not a tax haven of sorts then it is more than unlikely the inequity will be even challenged, much less eliminated.
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