October 14, 2013

Let's talk about tax.

Posted in Ireland · 118 comments ·

On Friday, both the Financial Times and the New York Times carried banner pieces criticising how Ireland is being used and, more to the point, is allowing itself to be used as part of a large tax avoidance scheme. Opinion is shifting against Ireland’s corporate tax system. And we are talking about the Financial Times and the New York Times – hardly the Worker’s Hammer or Militant.

Added to this, we have reports that the Irish corporate tax system might be a sticking point in the on-going German coalition talks as the left-leaning Social Democrats is demanding tax harmonisation in return for access to future EU bank bailout funds. Right across the political spectrum – left to right – momentum is moving against the way in which Ireland taxes its foreign corporations.

Not that long ago, at the G20 in Enniskillen, the world’s head honchos said that they would act together to level the playing field for corporation tax to prevent companies abusing tax shelters.

Ireland’s response then was to refute any allegations of wrongdoing but, if anything, the issue has become hotter.

Ireland has a choice: either we stick our head in the sand and pretend that the problem will go away or, as one of the countries with by far the most to lose from a change in the way corporation taxes are levied internationally, we can face up to the changed world.

It is quite clear that the political momentum – whether it is coming from the US, Germany, France or Britain – aims to squeeze countries like Ireland.

Although many in the government seem too nervous even to mention the tax system, this development and the subsequent ventilation of the issues around our industrial model might be a very healthy development for the entire Irish economy.

Let’s identify three issues. The first is quite straightforward and it centres on whether Ireland can portray itself as a normal country that is legitimately using its tax system to attract companies as opposed to some sort of rogue state” up to its neck in dodgy tax dealing which may well be just about legal, but which stinks from the perspective of governments whose tax base is being plundered by multinational tax shopping in every two-bit tax haven.

For example, the snooty tone of the New York Times’ article on Friday, which focused on how big American corporations are taking over smaller firms in lower tax jurisdictions to avail of lower tax, was pretty unambiguous. It cited the recent takeover of Elan – once the 20th-largest drug company in the world – by Perrigo (a US pharma company) as being driven in part by Perrigo’s desire to re-incorporate in Ireland, thereby saving $170 million in tax a year.

The second issue is more philosophical but, nonetheless, absolutely essential. Last week, I heard the serial entrepreneur John Teeling musing as to whether, by favouring the multinational sector so much, the Irish government unintentionally penalises local businesses.

This might seem to be an unusual angle, but consider the Irish firm – a start-up paying the full 12 per cent tax here – looking for talent, but which faces the prospect of competing with a huge multinational that pays effectively 2 per cent tax on revenues moving through Ireland. Which company has the advantage?

Over time, the explicit favouring of the multinational could be having a detrimental impact on Irish businesses. The reason this is important is that if your entire industrial base is anchored by a bit of tax jiggery-pokery, the country could be very exposed to changed international political sentiment.

And, if local business has been weakened as an unintended consequence of the corporation tax policy, then it will not be able to compete against or replace the multinationals if the multinationals up sticks.

The issue is not that multinationals haven’t been wonderfully beneficial to the local economy, but that there may be unintended consequences for local business.

The third issue is that, rather than fearing the coming change, Ireland might look at it as a revenue opportunity. Up to now, the attitude in most Irish policy circles appears to be that any change coming from the G20 or Europe would be an unmitigated disaster for Ireland, prompting talk of using the Irish veto at the Council of Ministers if our tax regime was to be changed by the EU.

What if we looked at it another way, and explored the view that standardising tax rates mightn’t lead to capital flight and could actually raise the Irish tax take from multinationals, benefiting the exchequer?

As things stand, the deal that multinationals get in Ireland is phenomenal.

A brilliant article in the regularly wonderful financial website, finfacts.ie, claims that profits per employee at US-owned companies in Ireland were at Euro 970,000, while the corporate tax paid in Ireland was just under Euro 26,000.

This is a deal like no other for the multinationals.

According to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis, US multinationals in Ireland reported net income of Euro 95.6 billion. These firms employ 98,500 people in Ireland, which gives profits per employee of a whopping Euro 970,000. In contrast, according to the IDA, tax paid per employee of multinationals to the Irish exchequer was Euro 19,000 or Euro 25,840 at today’s exchange rate.

According to finfacts.ie, the America data reveals that ”taxes other than income and payroll taxes” payable in Ireland in 2010 amounted to Euro 2.4 billion, giving an effective rate of tax of 2.5 per cent – far below headline rate of 12.5 per cent.

If these companies were to pay tax at the very low – by international standards – of 12.5 per cent, the exchequer would net Euro 12 billion in corporation tax per year. Euro 12 billion!

Of course, the companies would try to avoid as much tax as they can, and the revenues and incomes reported in Ireland would probably change. That always happens when you tinker with taxes because people and companies, typically, will never pay a cent more than they have to.

That said, when you stand back and take a look, it may actually benefit Ireland to begin the process of discussing openly how the country is used by multinationals to avoid taxes. Maybe the conclusion of these discussions and debates will be that we must retain the present system at all costs. This will put us on a collision course with the EU, but maybe the state will calculate that this is a battle worth fighting.

Bring on the debate. The rest of the world is talking about Ireland and its tax system. Surely we should be discussing it too?

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  1. Adam Byrne


    • Adam Byrne

      David, say what you might about George Monbiot but this is a good article and the man has proved himself in the trenches before, fighting the good fight, putting his life at risk.


      I think he would be a very good future guest at Kikenomics, we can’t have everyone agreeing with each other in some mutual appreciation society.

      Anyway, see you there. Who else is coming apart from Andrew and are we organizing a meet up on Saturday evening?

      • DB4545

        That really is a brilliant article Adam and sums up the mindset perfectly. We are global we are mobile and we want access to your labour and natural resources. We are loyal to our shareholders and nobody else. We want our profits tax free and we will contribute nothing to the local economy. If you want infrastructure, social services, medical care, education, pensions you can pay for it yourselves. People are resources to serve the interests of the Corporations rather than Corporations serving the needs of people by providing goods and services in a competitive economy. Welcome to Corporate Communism.

  2. michaelcoughlan

    This article is typical McWilliams. Super recovery from last weeks dreadful

    Excellent observations which can’t be faulted.

    Hopefully someone with clout somewhere will take notice.


  3. Predictable social changes coming down the pipe – Economists and the growth fetish!

    The 50s were a time of prosperity in many parts of the world and as far as down under in Australia.

    Mass production of new techology like the refrigerator, electric stove, and all kinds of other homeappliances like hoovers, washing maschines etc, affordable products for the masses. Energy consumption was of no concern really. Not until the 80s/90s when the use of more energy efficient appliances was desired in Australian homes. Environmentalism introduced better technology, thermo plastics, noise free and energy efficient dish washers, less energy consumption was on the agenda.

    The impact of these appliances that we take for granted today, in particular the refrigerator and stove, on the social dynamics and society at large was massive. During the 40s and 50s Australians spent six hours per day organising and preparing food. Entering the 70s, this time had reduced to around two hours, and by the late 90s they spend no more than 30 minutes a day, eating from take aways and convenience meals.

    Australia had come a long way and it’s economic development a fascinating history. During the earliest of the british occupation, economic historian N.G. Butlin referred to “The bridgehead economy”. Australia was a penal colony.


    x x x x

    Where are we today?

    In USA 49 million people are on food stamps, in Europe 46 million live from food handouts.

    According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics unemplyoment rate in 09/2013 was at 5.6%, that is around 700,000 people. Australia has around 3 million square miles and inhabits a population of around 22.8 million people, growing at 1.6% per annum. – as per Index mundi – Here around 2 million people live in poverty, whereby the same definition was applied as is used in Europe.

    No one needs a degreee in economics to realise that the global bankster heist has increased poverty around the world dramatically.

    If we include all of the world and look at poverty facts, we can say that poverty is a state for the majority of the worlds population, and the banksters and politicos as well as multinational corporations contributed in the past 5 years, immensely! Policies of the rich are applied in this world, not policies of the poor. Fact! Inequality is on the increase as the bankster’s mafia, the IMF prescribed Austerity and cutbacks in health, education and vital social programs. These innocently called ‘Structural Adjustments’ are death penalities for entire populations. Debt is used as an efficient tool to enslave nations assuring them access to their raw materials and infrastructure and the politicos of our decade are nothing but the mouthpieces of the Expropiators.

    If you paint the grand scheme picture, the changes coming down the pipe are obvious.

    In the meantime they gather around their precious and preach from the given variety of economic bibles, depending on their ideological background the bible looks different, but all bow deep to the 18th century moral philosopher from Scotland, Adam Smith.

    Like the other, the religious bible, the words are used for ideological agendas, they are open to interpretation as well as usage for downright deception and fraud.

    Adam Smith turned into the Über-Pope of economists. Today the Sveriges Riksbank will announce the Nobel prize in economic sciences. Someone is getting a cookie.

    The start of the global heist in 2008 marked equally the return of the IMF and World Bank. Institutions of the rich that historically had contributed to poverty increase on a global scale. Yesterday the joint annual meeting of central bankers, policy makers and private sector executives ended in Washington. It is the World Bank Group and IMF talking shop and of course it was inevitable that Malala was speaking as well, but I refrain to comment on this phenomenon for now as it would far exceed the two pages here.


    Regardless what fraction of ideologically motivated economists you listen to, they all have one in common, it is what I call the growth fetish.

    What we need instead is a complete overhaul of our social fabrics and structures, new parameters and measures are required and a complete new thinking, but what we see so far is nothing but clutching at straws, kicking the can, maintaining a system that has inherent factors of fraud and deception on purpose to maintain and enhance status quo, the power of the rich, to oppress and slaughter the poor when their raw materials are desired in their insatiable greed.

    There are forward thinking people out there, like Jeremy Rifkin, talking about important inclusion of elements such as empathy, proposing a third industrial revolution, but even Jeremy leaves no doubts when he says ‘There is no plan B!’

    Scientific evidence, oh no, I am not talking about junk science and economist here, but neurology and biology instead, suggests that cooperation is victorious over competition, and I would intend to agree here. Such insights need to be utilized to reform our social fabric and structures and not the musings of a 18th century moral philosopher.

    Over the past five years the religious orders of the various economist ideologies bombarded the public with their verbal diarrhea. Economists are the lower cast priests of the system while the high priests, the banksters, grown stronger than ever before, and by now the system has all the hallmarks of sektarianism with their narcissistic hypocrisy on display every single day.

    Perhaps with that in mind one should have a close look to Merkel land, a prime example of the economic narcissism at work, but it is not exclusive to Germany, on the contrary, and that is why there is no Europe other than an idea bundled with a common currency that strangleholds the majority of the 500 million people that make up Europe now.

    With the euro introduced, the cost of borrowing in peripheral countries such as Greece were much lower, and this enabled them to buy German submarines, while the weakness of the euro compared to the Deutschmark has made German exports to China much more competitive than they were before 1999. The idiotic german policy demands that were forced onto Ireland, Greece etc contributed to the fall of Europe as we know it, but I am sure historians will write about that in due time.

    Oh, and before I forget it, there are way too many economists on this planet, most of them drilled to become Yes-Men, systemic leeches!


    • 5Fingers

      Look, someone has to tell a story. Economists are the new bards. And many will get get rich and some will get shot.

      The bigger fools are the audiences (of which I am one) who follow the sensational and misdirected waffle. In the meantime, Nero fiddles and the world as we knew it is changing. How it will end up is far from clear.

      • redriversix

        History tells us it ends in War 5fingers…….

        Maybe it has already started ?

        Sure hope history is wrong. …

        • 5Fingers

          I do think the nation state is a dead duck. But not sure what is happening to replace it. I am not even sure if we need leaders the way we once did. War?…why would one bother wrecking what you own already. Am not even sure if history is much help.

          • EMMETTOR

            Surely we are in the middle of the war, democracy and societies are taking a pasting, while corporations and their various proxies are in the ascendancy. That the aims of both groups are opposed is beyond doubt and the idea that our political class is a fifth column clearly has gained credence. Debt is the weapon of mass destruction.

    • George R I could read you all night your badly needed to shake this god forgotten Place into forward Gear. there was a discussion about food poverty on Irish times today It turned out the woman of Ireland don’t no how to shop? In the heel of the hunt 1 Prudent Lady housekeeper agreed that the dinner Plates were too big BINGO No Food poverty at all at all it’s the god Damed plates I immediately sent The Sheila out to buy saucers Now we Can Live Like Kings. It proves your point Economist will say Yes to there master even When means Changing The Rules keep safe George good Men Are hard to Find-:)

    • bonbon

      Is time for a little education Why There Really Are No Limits to Growth by Ralf Schauerhammer From Spring 2002 21st Century issue.

      There we all can see the flaw in Austrian School von Hayek’s economics based on Madeville’s fantasy, and the error of the Club of Rome’s genocidal policies. It is really quite simple when one gets over the brainwashing since the 70′s.

      Now we discussed this at length here in the blog in 2011, for example here

      The verdict was clear – there is really no limit to growth – get over it.

  4. Perhaps have a look at this TED talk by Jeremy Rifkin, and well, the format may look somewhat familiar to you ;)


  5. Kevin Lyda

    The corporate tax rate discussion is silly. Large multinationals are generally unaffected by the corporate tax rate. Income earned on the back of a patent is taxed at a 0% tax rate.

    Raising the corporate tax rate won’t affect multi-nationals. It will only affect domestic companies in Ireland.

    Until someone starts seriously discussing the tax rate on income from patents this entire conversation is completely bogus.

    I think it’s shameful that Mr. McWilliams is participating in this sham.

    • Original-Ed

      You’re way behind the curve !!

      Section 27 of the Finance Bill 2011 amended two sections of the Taxes Consolidation Act 1997 as follows:

      •the tax free treatment available Section 141 “Distributions out of income from patent royalties” under will no longer be available after 24 November 2010. Therefore patent royalties paid by the manufacturing company to the patent company from 24 November 2010 onwards will be subject to corporation tax. The rate of tax to be applied in the patent company is 25%.
      •the tax free treatment under S.234 “Certain income derived from patent royalties” will not apply to any dividends paid after 24 November 2010. Therefore the employees are subject to income tax etc on the dividends received
      Thus there are two tax increases;

      •The manufacturing company now gets tax relief at 12.5% on a payment that is taxed at 25% in the patent company thereby changing a tax saving of 12.5% to a tax cost of 12.5%.
      •The employees are fully taxed on the dividends received that were previously tax free

      Companies should consider unwinding existing patent structures and creating alternative tax efficient structures. For instance, the following measures should be considered:

      •Immediately cease patent royalty payments
      •Investigate a tax free transfer of patent(s) to the manufacturing company
      •Investigate possibility of claiming capital allowances on patent transfers
      •Create tax efficient patent structures involving other jurisdictions

  6. redriversix

    Good article…

    Welcome back Mr Mcwilliams.

    Bottom line…will Ireland lose it’s low Corporation tax..?


      Surely nobody can doubt it? Our hope now is that it won’t cause the multinationals to up sticks. The fact that Ireland is a de facto tax haven is not a good thing, except from a narrow, nationalistic viewpoint and since we are no longer a nation in any meaningful way and our low corporate tax rates are not liked by the EU, they will go.

  7. blueangel

    The fundamental problem in Ireland is that the country now has a ‘business model’ based on housing and ministering to the professional services and admin needs of multinational corporations. This has been allowed to develop greatly during the last 15 years or so as it enabled huge growth in employment at the Irish offices of global accounting, tax law, legal and consulting firms with associated payroll tax flows. It also led to large amounts of commercial property development.

    The problem is the ‘crowding-out’ effect this has had on indigenous manufacturing and engineering firms who lacked the scale and leverage to buy professional and government services and office space at internationally-competitive rates. Consequently this indigenous exporting sector has declined as better capital returns were available from commercial property speculation or relocation to Eastern Europe.

    Ireland is reliving the experiences of the States of Guernsey, who also sleepwalked their way from a mixed economy with exports to a financialised economy based on facilitation of tax avoidance by UK services businesses. Their indigenous agricultural and industrial businesses largely disappeared while the young either found work in local professional services firms catering to the needs of thousands of letterbox corporations or emigrated from the island. Eventually the UK government which was being bled of tax revenues and business intelligence reacted and presented Guernsey with an ultimatum. The adjustment to this has been very difficult.

    Ireland needs to accept that there is no future in antagonising other states by facilitating predatory tax strategies by TNC’s and signal its intentions through tax law changes in the upcoming budget. The payoff will eventually be cost-effective legal and professional services, reduced scope for the generation of misleading propaganda about economic achievement, and greater state interest in catering to the development needs of ‘real’ exporting firms operating in Ireland.

  8. 5Fingers

    Excellent article. Bring on the debate.

    And yes, the indigenous business does loose out more and more to these unfavourable tax arrangements and even more so where these multinationals do less and less to leverage local businesses for services when they use their own global deals.

    I want to debate to air the tax treatments in Germany and France so we can see the full headline tax rates and the other localised kickbacks. Many mumtinationals are effectively subsidised (negative rates).

    Finally, Let’s start to really understand that the Dozens of Markets of Millions of customers each is now steadily morphing into the Millions of markets of a few customers each. We are entering the concierge notion of doing business. I think that is something the Irish are genetically set up to do and do it well. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23990211

    • Fuzzy

      Wrong IMO. Individual business can, quite easily and cheaply, avail of the same mechanisms that multinationals use. I can recomend some if you like…

      • 5Fingers

        Not what I meant…I want Multi Nats to pay MORE than their fair share due to their unfair relative advantage in other areas. e.g. Tesco should pay a hefty tax for their disruptive effect on diversity of local business. Also,we forget that the input costs of administration are far more easily accomodated by multinationals than local business e.g. around regulation, conformance, tax conformance even. Level the playing pitch properly.

        Anyway, I do not see these large operations as a good long term bet. So milk them while they last.

  9. Fuzzy

    Corporation tax is tax on profit made. This will live an ephemeral existance if imposed on multinationals. They will just move intellectual Property (or other tangables) to a company in e.g. Panama and profit will coalesce there.
    They will just use Ireland as a convienient staing post for invoiced money. As long as “Dutch Sandwiches” and “Double Irish” schemes are available then there is not too much can be done about it.
    Ironically the only law system capable of tackeling this is the Dutch one (A principle-based law system) and they are playing the game as much as, if not more than, Ireland.
    With business more mobile than at any time in the past and moving country a paper exercise in most cases maybe leveling the playing field by eliminating it and looking to increase revenue in other ways is the way to go.

  10. Original-Ed

    To be realistic, our options aren’t great. If the MNCs were to go, what would happen to our GDP ?
    We’re now caught in a trap and there’s no easy way out. With profits per employee of almost 1 million euros – that’s approx 500 euros per hour – it’s a printing machine and indigenous companies are put at a major disadvantage when it comes to competing for able employees. With those profit margins, they can pay way over the norm to keep everybody happy – “hush money” is what it’s called.

    The long term consequences will not be pretty as the more dependent we become the less able we’ll be to stand on our own two feet. Look at what happened to Spain back in the days of conquest.

  11. Nice article David.

    “The issue is not that multinationals haven’t been wonderfully beneficial to the local economy”

    Indeed, but FDI is economic heroin, in my view. So yeah, very interested to see this debate start to happen.

  12. Adam Byrne

    €970,000 per employee – that’s a lot of surplus value.

    Indicative of the utter greed and exploitation of the worker by corporations.

    Marx is turning in his grave – bring on the revolution.

    • 5Fingers

      Maybe you are looking at this the wrong way. What you are seeing there is loads of opportunity. The big profit guys are now under attack from smaller entities.

      The revolution is underway. Microsofts, Apples etc are being hammered (anyone not using open source is a complete idiot). Generics are eating Big Pharmas etc. I think it is happening very quickly. Innovation is happening at a small scale – the trick is to have policy that encourages small operators to grow rather than sell off.

      • Adam Byrne

        Yeah, it was somewhat tongue in cheek Philip, that comment.

        I know there are lots of opportunities out there but the ordinary Joe Soap who can’t be assed thinking will continue to get screwed.

        It’ll be up to small operators for sure to make a ‘fair’ society (whatever that is) because the corporations aren’t interested and don’t care.

  13. Adam Byrne

    The figure of €970,000 profit per employee IS outrageous though, especially when you consider how much of it goes into the salaries and pension plans of fat cats who don’t deserve it – and otherwise into raping and pillaging the developing world and the environment.

    • 5Fingers

      I think the BIG problem with corp taxes is well highlighted in this number. What it means is that the lower the corp taxes in a country, the more profit gets booked there. It is not a reflection of overall profit. Typically for a multinational to be making reasonable headway, it needs to be booking revenues of about 1 Million per employee. Net profit may be as low as 10-20% for a well run operation.

      What it also means is that Ireland become a booking shop for invoicing and banking clearance rather than a proper R&D to production to logistics value chain environment. So it explains the big presence of accountancy and audit operations in Ireland.

  14. Original-Ed

    They consider it normal to have a margin of 1,000% on a cutting edge technology in its early phase.

    • 5Fingers

      Rarely if ever works out that way for new tech. Also never confuse revenue with profit. Old tech with big brand names have the highest margins by far. e.g. rag trade, condoms, chocolates, kitchens furniture.

  15. bonbon

    From Indo, 11-Oct-2013 Google enjoy a very tasty “Dutch Sandwich” paying €8.6bn in royalties to a Dutch subsidiary last year, then shifted to Bermuda, a tax rate of 5pc not 12.5pc, paying just €17m on revenue of €15.5bn, recording a pre-tax profit of just €137m here for 2012.

    The highly controversial practice has attracted criticism from US politicians.

    Bermuda again. Way ahead of the tax curve, what?

  16. Ryu Hayabusa

    This once in a century move to ‘patch up’ holes in International Tax rules unveiled by George Osborne and his French and German counterparts at the G20. Amazon are told the game is up!
    Osborne and Moscovici were singing in tandem.


    “People and companies have to pay the taxes that are due, it’s the only way to operate in a fair and competitive society … Our message is clear: everyone must pay their fair share of tax.”

    Amazon’s £4.2 billion sales in the UK derived from 8 warehouse facilities are funnelled through Luxembourg.

    He proposes this on the one hand, while giving carte blanche to parasitic institutions like G Suchs and Financial pirates like HSBC to undermine the real economy he claims to be so in favour of nurturing?

    Also this help to buy (votes) scheme they’ve launched to inflate the next UK property bubble… Government backing up of 15% of a 20% deposit an individual pays on a property of up to £600k.
    And apparently they are fast forwarding phaseII of this scheme by 3 months.
    It’s having the desired effect already it seems…

    562,000 people employed in the property&real estate sector in the UK.
    1 in 4 jobs created currently are within this sector.

    What in the name of sweet Alabama is going onnnnnnn……
    Les gens ouvrez des yeux collective!

    Vive la revolution!!!

    • bonbon

      Sounds like Ireland is the beef in the Dutch Sandwich, and the UK the Luxembourg Canapee.

      Who’s edible on the menu next?

    • Ryu Hayabusa

      Me velly solly, i meant 75% of the 20% deposit of course!

      Maybe i should have just said 3/4, whatever you’re having yourself.

  17. whatamess

    MI5 , subterfuge , GCHQ , secrtets , NSA , espionage , MI6 , …you get the picture

    5 mins long …full length available and worth a watch


    too many secrets

  18. Eddieboom

    The main concern people have is that Multi Nats will up sticks if we appear to increase the corporate tax rate. This clearly warrants a sensitivity analysis by the government to see where the tipping point is for multi nats per industry. I think you’ll find that increasing the corporate tax rate will not send existing ones off shore. The capital they have invested and the complexity in getting regulatory approval for pharma/biotech companies is substantial. Most multi nats generally spread production plants across different contries/regions anyway to migigate risk and they need a presense in Europe. So why not Ireland. I know I work in one. The problem you’ll face is attracting ‘new’ investment… but if the IDA are worth there salt they can should still be able to sell all the advantages.

  19. Deco

    Ireland’s taxation system is designed to prop up the residential real estate market. In fact, it always was.

  20. Deco

    There is also a massively oversized state system in Ireland. And unlike Denmark, Ireland’s state system is a performance disaster. Ireland’s institutional state makes power grabs – because it can make the power grabs, not because it is in any way competent.

    In fact, Ireland is the China of the West, in it’s approach to policy. A State system that loves to be in control, and increasingly Marxist, and a pro-investment regime that is red blooded capitalistic.

    The Irish institutional state is schitzo.

  21. DB4545

    Let me assure you Deco the Irish institutional State is far from Schizophrenic. It is parasitic and psychopathic and is geared to feed on the citizens of this State at any cost. It is the ultimate cartel and it can and does play the long game because it has the blank chequebook of taxpayers as a key weapon. If you challenge it as a taxpayer trying to get services for a disabled child or as an employee trying to introduce transparency for the people you serve it can and will take you all the way to the Supreme Court. Because it can. It hates daylight and transparency in any shape or form. One cure is a repeal of the Official Secrets Act. There are some secrets that must remain to protect the State against terrorism, crime etc. However It’s main function has been and is to protect the reckless incompetence and waste of taxpayer resources by some politicians and State employees from public scrutiny.

  22. 5Fingers

    We are engineering this country to be skilled in taking on 20th Century style operations, given them a presence while supplying accountancy functions to channel the profits. So we supply grads with relevant skills (fodder), local taxes win PAYE and country never builds its own capability (unless you think a nation of administrators who are afraid to start a business is a capability).

    It has all the hallmarks of a housing bust. Ireland is ignoring its indigenous capability and the economic diversity it brings at its peril. We have an impoverished artisan culture and rely too much on stock solutions from abroad which “seem” cost effective because they seem better developed. I believe such artisans are the mainstay of an entrepreneurial ecosystem which is regulated and taxed out of existence to the benefit of these 20th century FDI monoliths who use our grads as fodder.

    When Microsoft/ Intel/ Pfizer etc get walloped seriously reconfigured in the coming couple of years (and indicators suggest the copycats/ patent violators/ boutique specialists are starting to have an effect) we are in for a major hit. We have 24 months tops to wake up and realise that real wealth comes from just down the road.

  23. bonbon

    It might give some a warm fuzzy feeling to talk about taxes – have a look at this!

    Plans for Dictatorship

    Bloomberg pushes Obama to go for dictatorship : “President Barack Obama may soon face a choice between safeguarding democratic governance on the one hand and protecting financial stability on the other.”

    And again :
    “U.S. May Join Germany of 1933 in Pantheon of Defaults,”

    Bloomberg has the precedent of Hitler in mind. In that article printed on Monday, author John Glover claims that the U.S. would be the first major Western government since Hitler to default. They note that Hitler’s default on the Versailles debts in May 1933, “helped cement [his] power base following years of political instability.”

    Do Obama’s controllers have this precedent in mind for him? That can’t be ruled out—but must be stopped.

  24. DB4545

    Bonbon do you do any thinking for yourself? Almost every time I click on the links you use for reference it takes me to the “Larouche Irish Brigade” home page. Just because it states something there doesn’t make it true. I was going to pose the question “how can it be stopped?” but your usual antic is to make a reference to GS and invite me to read some 400-800 page book. Please give me YOUR view in plain english without jargon and esoteric references.

    • michaelcoughlan

      Your wasting your time. Bonbon suits their own agenda. Best to ignore him. The answer to your question is no. Mr larouche does thd thinking and bonbon and his mates Borg like do the talking, posting blogging whatever.

      • DB4545

        You’re right of course I should know better. Regarding our growing reputation as a tax haven I think we have a serious fight on our hands. We’re fast becoming the Delaware of the EU. The other US States are extremely irate with Delaware “stealing” their tax revenue. Unfortunately I don’t think we have the same leverage and Germany may apply pressure sooner rather than later.

        • whatamess

          “may” apply ??

          will no doubt apply,i think DB45

          just a matter of when? but it will be in the next 5 years…waaaay too much pressure even already

          Excuse the double negative, but i can’t imagine why the Germans,and others, wouldn’t DEMAND this

          That crock of gold at the end of the rainbow for Ire inc…well,it’s days are numbered !

          that playing field will be levelled…it makes sense…why ought Ireland have this advantage?When Germany insist we “assimilate” ourselves,The Gov’t will just subsidise this higher corporation tax,with a cut in mabe the dole,and repackage Ireland Inc as STILL open for laudering,ahem ,i mean business !

    • bonbon

      How “what can be stopped”, exactly?

      Glass-Steagall was 33 pages not 700+ of Dodd-Frank emmentaler cheese where no-one can find the Volcker Rule. Damn, it must be there somewhere….

      In the best American English, not the Royal mumbling that passes for it today, Brutish, Glass-Steagall worked. How about that? We now how, and why. We know it cost Wall Street $390 million to repeal it as they said themselves. We know Sandy Weil, the self-proclaimed “shatterer of Glass-Steagall”, of Citi, and the Financial Times all want it back.

      Why not you?

      • DB4545

        Well thank you bonbon, reasonably clear and concise in your own words and without the esoteric references. I knew you could do it. I do support it, it makes sense but how do you enforce it when highly mobile global capital can breach any barrier and most jurisdictions?

        • michaelcoughlan

          He won’t answer that question either for a number of different reasons which include that it’s almost impossible, or you will only be able to create the financial system you would like AFTER the totally corrupted one in place had been removed but primarily; he hasn’t been indoctrinated yet by the people who manipulate him with their suggested mantra and dogmatic response to such a question.

          • DB4545

            A conversation between a car mechanic and a heart transplant surgeon. The mechanic explains that he works on highly complex formula one car engines and his skills are cutting edge and state of the art. The heart transplant surgeon respectfully comments on the mechanic’s skills and asks a question.”Can you change the car engine while it’s still running?”. That’s the difference and the problem bonbon we have to transplant a new model without killing the patient.

  25. Ryu Hayabusa

    Guten Abend Whatamess,

    Mein Nachbar ist ein Außenseiter! :)

    • Ryu Hayabusa

      Guten Abend Alle.

      We might aswell get the practice in now lads, the 4th Reich is upon us. Schnell Schnell, LAUS!

      • whatamess

        i know whooo you arrre !!!!

        • whatamess




          “swear allegiance to the flag, whatever flag they offer,never hint what you really feel,teach the children quietly ,for some day sons and daughters,WILL RISE UP AND FIGHT, WHILE WE STOOD STILL !!”

          • whatamess

            When a tuning fork is positioned up close to a drinking glass,the glass sometimes vibrates,right? Science refers to this as ,resonance…
            the transfer of energy between bodies of the SAME ‘natural’ frequency.

            So when your 50Hz tuning fork makes a drinking glass vibrate,you can deduct, that the glass in question has a natural frequency of 50Hz.

            I’ve heard it said that everything has a natural frequency,even people.
            When groups of people are engaging in “om” or “nam myoho renge kyo” style spiritual chanting, people often report experiencing gentle vibrations running through their bodies.It is thought by some that the person’s main energy points(chakras) are vibrating as the collective chanting is vibrating at the SAME natural frequency as the bodies present.

            Don’t go running for the hills now after i brought chakras into it ;)lol

            Have a read of this if you have 20 mins..


            Remember the Shawshank clip where all the inmates are in the yard together and they hear the opera on the louspeaker?(courtesy of Andeeee Duuufraayne)

            Why are they “all strangely reacting, almost unconsciously, in a completely new way to something and something that was created 150 years ago before any of them were born. To what are they reacting? Could you explain this as a phenomenon of physics or biology? Some animals have the ability to migrate long distances by instinct and the sensing of magnetic fields, others communicate important momentary information by a specific sound pattern propagating in their immediate location. Where are the means of this communication amongst humans? Is it in the sounds? Is it readable in the smallest vibrations of the air? Is it in the total magnetic field created by the audience?”

            My point is …

            What set of circumstances,would resonate with people to the point where the drinking glass, that is you and me,would vibrate?Vibrate the Irish into revolution?

            Or are we just destined to shatter??

            Ta nimh so ghaoth and Hayabusa is right,the 4th Reich is upon us !!

            The Battle of Good vs Evil



            crank up the volume ! gotta get the right frequency for those vibrations,right!!!!!!!


          • bonbon

            That’s Percy Shelley’s “Shadows of Futurity”, from A defense of Poetry :

            “Poets are the hierophants of an unapprehended inspiration; the mirrors of the gigantic shadows which futurity casts upon the present; the words which express what they understand not; the trumpets which sing to battle, and feel not what they inspire; the influence which is moved not, but moves. Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world.”

            Something way beyond resonance, I say. I hear it in Dvorak’s New World.

          • Ryu Hayabusa

            Mikel and his auto-technicians…

            Music soothe the savage beast, eh whatamess?

          • Ryu Hayabusa

            Yes Yes what a concept… select a frequency that the Irish are attuned to &stir them from their trance like slumber!

            Le Nozze Di Figaro, the beauty in the music stirred something in their inner core… briefly unleashed their common humanity.

            Everything in the universe is inter-connected. Nothing exists in isolation!

            A point you make exquisitely here.

            Maybe there’s hope for us.

          • whatamess

            legendary tune !!!

            Coolio’s poetry ,i suspect,doesn’t appeal to Bonbon, but the native American influence of “Return to Innocence”might even appeal,what?

            i see your Return to Innocence and raise you

            i gotta head to the arms of Morpheus :)

          • Ryu Hayabusa

            And don’t knock Chris de Burgh. He’s a Liverpool fan and thus entitled to some brownie points.

          • Ryu Hayabusa

            I thought you might raise me with ‘Carly’s song’ or ‘Man is the dream of the dolphin’…
            and you go& head down the human misery and suffering route!

            I’m welling up here so I am..

            It’s near enough to even make Mickster Noonan shed a tear,, even if it is of the crocodile variety.

          • whatamess

            “briefly unleashed their common HUMANITY.”

            And if we can shed these conditioned handcuffs of the mind,we can find empathy,which is in it’s true form,is very rare indeed

          • Ryu Hayabusa

            And how about attuning on the Schumann Resonance& let’s get some thunder and lightning going on here brethren!!


            Top that mein schatz! :D

          • Ryu Hayabusa

            Absolutely, as Jeremy Rifkin attests to in his studies when he refers to ‘mirror neurons’ and humans (and higher primates) being softwired for empathy.

            This innate response has been overlayed by centuries of materialistic, autonomous, self serving and ultimately fruitless human conditioning.

            That is a path which can be reversed however if a collective will is imposed. Not easily achieved admittedly.

          • EMMETTOR

            A 50 hertz tuning fork, now that would be one big mother and you’d have to hit it with a JCB to get it moving, still maybe that’s the one to get the Irish moving…abroad.

        • Robert Mc Call

          a surreal loop !!!

          Mind is the Matrix of all matter

  26. Ryu Hayabusa

    ICEMAN: Hey Maverick, You can be my wingman anytime.
    MAVERICK: Bullshit.. you can be mine!!


  27. whatamess


    4mins short

    Can desalination plan revive fortunes of Jordan desert ??

    “The Sahara is a limit, a boundary, but it is self imposed by Easter Island inward-looking belief systems.”

    well said Bonbon

    human conditioning of LIMITS only results in ‘creativity with boundaries’ that are not in actual fact , REAL

    • bonbon

      The BBC fails to reference the Oasis Plan, an essential part of the Eurasian Landbridge, better known as the New Silk Road, now a China priority.

      Israel has the know-how to apply its nuclear capability to solve the water problem. That stretch of land is one gateway to Africa, the other being over Gibralter.

      Funny how British policy has a vice grip on both? Now look at the new Limes, policed by FRONTEX – the killing seas of Lampedusa. Roman Empire anyone?

  28. whatamess

    the “boundaries” are virtual

    all in our boundary conditioned minds

  29. CorkPlasticPaddy

    It would seem that the majority of the comments made in response to what David pointed out in his article have completely missed the point. I’d like to draw your attention to what David stated about every multinational if they paid the full amount of 12.5% Corporation Tax on their profits then the State would accumulate 12 Billion Euro per annum from it. DO YOU ALL GET THE POINT NOW?????

  30. whatamess

    What if there’s no debt ceiling deal?

    in 90 seconds


    • DB4545

      The reason I said Germany may apply pressure is the same reason Delaware is still operating as the US onshore tax haven. Corporations operating in the EU are no different to those operating in the US. A critical mass has developed and they will lobby the EU to minimise their tax bill. The Multinationals have more effective leverage than any EU State and it may serve their interests to have Ireland Inc. as the local bagman.
      CorkPlasticPaddy you mentioned that we may be going off topic regarding Corporation tax. If the State had the power to pull in an additional 12 billion per annum in taxes it would have done so. David may as well wish for a favourable lotto result. The odds of getting it are about the same. We’re in the middle of a shock and awe phase of an economic war. It’s a resource war just like any other war.
      If you had managed to gain access to and now controlled the natural resources of a State for a pittance would you hand that State 12 billion which could be used as a war chest against you? Hell will freeze over before that happens. In the greater scheme of things 12 billion is a pittance. Look at the 50:50 deal Norway achieved for its Citizens with the Oil & Gas industry. We’ve allowed the gombeens to hand over our resources for a few brown envelopes.

      • DB4545

        If you want to see how the brown envelope culture works in the EU just read today’s news. The family who control BMW gave Frau Merkel’s political party 690,000 Euros in donations. The EU has “decided” to abandon tougher emission controls. These tougher controls would have cost BMW a fortune. A good deal for 690,000 Euros. These are the same people that we’re jumping through hoops for to be “best in class”. When will we ever learn.

        • bonbon

          You mean Merkel will damage Deutsche Bank’s CO2 paper trading? The 1000 polizei did raid that Bank in Dec2012 for exactly that, they said.I am sure the took the entire farm.

          I prefer auto’s to CO2 derivatives, don’t you?

        • Ryu Hayabusa

          Alas, it’s not a huge amount relatively but not as cheaply as Ender is prepared to sell himself..

          A tickle under the chinois or a pat on the head is his hefty tariff!

          I’m still disturbed by that ‘shecret agent’ twang he deployed in Davos not so long ago….

          “You see the peeeple in myy cunnnn-tray went mmmadddd shpending that tiime… borrrowweeen truculintleee hand over fishtt.

          I tried too shtop ‘em.. Chrrriiisst weel ye put on da brakesssh a bit I shed,, but thay wouldnnnnt lisssshen!”

          Roger En-DA, over and out ya dilweed.

          • EMMETTOR

            Arrah, would ya ever stop givin’ Dame Enda such a hard time? He’s doin’ his level best, he’s only a teacher for god’s sake, it’s not like he has a degree in Finance, Politics, Economics or anything at all at all that would be of any use in his current occupation.

      • DB4545

        If you want to see how this culture works in the EU just read today’s news. The family who control BMW gave Frau Merkel’s political party 690,000 Euros in donations. The EU has “decided” to abandon tougher emission controls. These tougher controls would have cost BMW a fortune. A good deal for 690,000 Euros. These are the same people that we’re jumping through hoops for to be “best in class”. When will we ever learn.

        • Bingo, and such ius this culture that dare to say this is just the tip of the iceberg really!

          Perhaps it is best described as the corporate capture of the EU decision making process and the list is long.

          In 2010 The International Swaps and Derivatives
          Association (ISDA) was the winner of the Worst EU Lobbying Award in the finance sector.

          The absence of transparency and extreme light-touch regulation in the derivatives market faced heavy criticism but ISDA, and Goldman Sachs urged the European Commission to take minimal action, at the end tough new rules would be bad for business.


        • 5Fingers

          The nation state hierarchy was probably an excellent way of organising a country through the last 2-3 centuries. When you think about it, the capability of people of the top versus those at the bottom was actually not that much different. Having a horse with a sword really does not put you that much above someone who has a pike.

          Today, the disparity is much much larger and hence the ability to wholly enclave a very augmented class. The nation state was never meant to cope with such a disparity in empowerment. It is selfemergent feudalism by default.

          So the question is – did we let it happen? I believe we did because as most never understood why you have any rights at all. As for the engineering of this by the elite – well turkeys never vote for Christmas.

          The emerging crisis will educate most of us whether we like it or not. I hope we can come out the better for it.

  31. SMOKEY

    So I get a tax relief for an extension on my house?
    Then comes the demand to “revalue” said house for property tax purposes.
    Sure its worth more now isnt it?
    Be careful, they are sneaky fuckers.

  32. CorkPlasticPaddy

    @Whatamess and DB4545.

    I stated this before and I’ll now state it again; the sooner the Irish electorate stop voting for the same old same old the sooner things will start changing for the better in this god forsaken country!!! We’ve gone through 90 years of a complete and utter cock up do want another 90 years of ther same again??? For God’s sake cop yourselves on and start behaving like grown ups for a change or else nothing is going to change; EVER!!!

    • 5Fingers

      There are no alternatives. And what will stop the new XYZ party from not falling the the same old ways. The structure of our system forms the attitude.

      • whatamess


        wrist-slapping the financial sector with effective REGULATION would be a far better strategy,so let’s all grow up and face that fact!

        Focus on changing the “attitude” of the banksters ,who are risking all our futures!!

    • DB4545

      CorkPlasticPaddy the political elite is this country voted in the Act of Union 1800 which effectively destroyed emerging industries and turned us into serfs on a farm for the empire. The 1916 crowd decided to go the “ourselves alone” route and shut us out of the markets of the empire. The EEC was an opportunity to join the European empire on a fair and equal basis with other nation States. How could we have been so naive? The political elites warned of dire consequences if we didn’t vote the “right way” for The Lisbon treaties. They have again turned us in serfs on a farm for the “European Empire” and in the process have stolen our natural resources. Who do we vote for to introduce meaningful change?

      • bonbon

        Rome never invaded Eire, it was about to – famine at home called it off.

        The new Limes, the killing seas of Lampedusa, shows Eire has joined a New Rome, its Trojan Horse Being the Euro.

        The British volume, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, by Gibbon of the East Indie Company is the recipe. Napoleon crowned himself emperor, Hitler visited his predecessors mausoleum in Paris. Now again the outsiders are dying in droves at the Limes, the Limit.

        It must be better to spread development, than police the Limes, something Rome and the British Empire did not. The EU, true to its Roman tradition, recently axed the Chad Transaqua Plan.

        So Ireland has faced this before.

  33. CorkPlasticPaddy


    Well, we can either do one of two things and that’s change the system or else change the attitude!!! Enough said!!!

    • 5Fingers

      Cannot close Pandora’s box. This is going to play out and keep evolving irrespective of what any of us do. We NOW are in a world which biases to a ridiculous degree a sudden winner take all approach or a massive collapse. I am trying to understand it merely to try and survive it.

      • EMMETTOR

        I agree, 5fingers, we have no influence over this, never mind control and I’m in the same lifeboat as you, trying to survive. Eventually, they will be trying to fool all of the people all of the time but I’ll be fertiliser by then. In the meantime, I’m getting out of Ireland to go live somewhere warm.

  34. SMOKEY

    Start carrying your documents, or maybe a forearm number tattoo, that worked in the past didnt it?
    The dole cheats will be weeded out “early” on “your” way to work at “checkpoints”
    When I hear Joan, Labour minister for social protection, talking, I can hear the commands,as follows. Marsch! Im Gleichschritt! Nach rechts…Richt Euch! Now, …tap your heels three times. And think to yourself,……………………………

  35. CorkPlasticPaddy

    I REST MY CASE!!!!!

  36. whatamess

    Now is NO time to REST !!!!??

    Muhammad Ali said it best:”…Man,this is the wrong place to get tired!”

    2 mins

    keep motivated

    keep focused

    • Ryu Hayabusa

      That man is the reason rugby players Sledge! ….Your mamma know you that ugly Sonny?

      “A rooster crows only when it sees the light. Put him in the dark and he’ll never crow. I have seen the light and I’m crowing!”

      Muhammad Ali

      It’s high time Paddy started warbling. :O

  37. Ryu Hayabusa

    Pre election Enda:

    “Paddy likes to know da shtory”

  38. Ryu Hayabusa

    Speaking in boxing parlance, Vincent Browne went a sparring with Kenny today, pinned him few rounds on the ropes!


    What’s with all the animosity, why can’t they just get along?

    Find some common ground, evoke their common humanity!

    Ta sli nios fearr fir!

  39. Very knowledgeable commentaries but not a lot of help to an individual.
    Maybe take Jim Richards advise and do what the Chinese are doing. Buy the insurance on the dips and protect yourself.


  40. DB4545

    We’ve have been described before as a Country full of Genius with absolutely no talent! We just need an outlet for the Genius to turn it into a talent!


      Self-delusion, that’s all this patting ourselves on the back is. The Irish are known around the world but only because we’ve been exporting generations of our people from the failed political, economic and social entity that this bogland is. Most Irish people know this, deep inside, but can’t face up to the horror of it all. How low can we go? Just watch!

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