Life & Culture
Premium Irish Circle
Working in Ireland
Irish Name Register
Advice & Resources
Music & Songs
History & Archaeology
Heritage & Culture
News & Politics
Enter your e-mail address to receive our weekly e-Newsletter:
Irish Voice News
Irish Want Obama to Keep Tax Breaks
November 12, 2008
By Paddy Clancy and Barry McCaffrey
THE Irish government is preparing an intense lobbying campaign to persuade President-elect Barack Obama to keep almost 100,000 jobs in U.S. multinationals in Ireland. Obama warned during his presidential election campaign that he would help protect the domestic economy by ending tax breaks to American firms who shifted investment to other countries.
That could include 580 U.S. multinationals in Ireland. Intel, Dell, Microsoft, Pfizer, Google and their compatriot firms produce goods and services valued at *47 billion each year and are worth at least *3 billion a year to the Irish Exchequer, according to estimates from the American Chamber of Commerce.
It would be a hammer-blow to Irish industry if they were forced to pull out by Obama’s proposed policies.
Already IDA Ireland, the Irish government’s agency to secure new investment from overseas, has moved to bid to ensure the multinationals remain. IDA Ireland chiefs discussed the matter with senior members of Obama’s campaign team before he was elected. More meetings are expected following his victory last week.
The government plans to lobby members of Congress, particularly public representatives with strong ties to Ireland. Foreign Affairs Minister Micheal Martin said that Irish companies directly support about 80,000 jobs in the U.S. and that Irish-US foreign investment was “a two-way street.”
Finance Minister Brian Lenihan said there would be “continuous liaison” with the business community through diplomatic and overseas channels to monitor any potential changes to the U.S. tax system. Lenihan said his department was ‘’always mindful” of any international developments that could potentially impact on foreign direct investment in Ireland. However, he added that many of the proposed US tax changes were speculative.
The outgoing U.S. ambassador to Ireland, Thomas Foley, has criticized Obama’s proposals and said it was doubtful that Congress would sanction them. He told The Sunday Business Post, ‘’This is not good policy.”
Ireland’s 12.5% corporate tax rate has been very attractive to U.S. multinationals. Many of them have set up Irish operations to take advantage of Ireland’s low company tax rate to slash their tax bills.
But economic experts say that Ireland attractiveness is being squeezed by a combination of rising costs, the rise in the value of the euro against the dollar and the prospect of a crackdown by the Internal Revenue Service on U.S. companies using tax havens such as Ireland to reduce the amount of tax which they pay to the federal government every year.
Despite concerns over the fate of US multinationals in Ireland, an overwhelming majority of Irish rejoiced in Obama’s victory.
Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Brian Cowen led the tributes. “On a personal and human level, his story is a wonderful one and the fact that a person such as Barack Obama has been elected to be the president of the United States is a further indicator of how strong democracy is in the U.S, where people of opportunity and talent can strive for the highest office,” he said.
“(Obama) has some ancestral roots here in Ireland and he would be welcome to come at any time for whatever political or personal work he would like to conduct here. Our next scheduled meeting would be in the U.S. during the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. We would be hopeful we would be able to meet him then and discuss many issues of mutual concern as he settles into his new role.”
Irish President Mary McAleese also paid tribute to Obama, saying his election “serves as a beacon of hope, not just in America, but around the world, particularly in these turbulent times of anxiety and uncertainty.”
Obama’s victory achieved another unique piece of history by uniting the North’s politicians in welcoming his election.
While Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionist Party have failed to agree on anything during the last six months they were united in praising the election of Obama.
First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy
First Minister Martin McGuinness congratulated Obama on his election victory and said they looked forward to working closely with his new administration.
The leader of Northern Ireland unionism described Obama’s success as “a truly historic event,” while the leader of Irish republicanism praised Obama’s commitment to furthering progress in Ireland.
Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams, who met Obama during a visit to Washington last year and is due in the U.S. this week, welcomed Obama’s recent support for a public inquiry into the murder of solicitor Pat Finucane.
“President elect Obama has committed to continue U.S. support for the Irish peace process,” he said.
SDLP leader Mark Durkan predicted that Obama’s election would have a positive effect on international relations all over the world.
“The decisiveness of Barack Obama’s triumph and the hope which it heralds is in contrast to the divisiveness of previous elections,” he said.
Share this story:
Add to del.icio.us
Email a friend
© IrishAbroad.com 2009
Terms of Service
Add To My Site
| Bookmark us! (CTRL-D)
Use the code snippet below to link back to this page:
<a href="http://www.irishabroad.com/news/irish-voice/news/Articles/obama-tax-breaks121108.aspx">Irish Want Obama to Keep Tax Breaks</a>