I propose to take Questions Nos. 148 and 151 together.
The Government, in response to the allegations that Ireland is being used as a tax haven, has continued to refute these allegations and to outline how, since the 1950s, successive Governments have consistently agreed a competitive corporation tax rate as a means to attract investment and jobs to Ireland.
IDA Ireland is the agency with statutory responsibility for the attraction of foreign direct investment (FDI) to Ireland and its regions. In executing its mandate, IDA Ireland engages with corporate entities, as the primary decision makers around FDI investment. IDA Ireland markets Ireland as a location for FDI on the basis of a number of selling points, including an attractive corporate tax rate. IDA Ireland recently undertook a media road-show in New York to counter claims that Ireland is a tax haven and to explain how the Irish corporate tax system operates. The media road-show involved a prime time speaking opportunity on CNBC, the most watched business news network in the United States. The resulting interview was subsequently re-cycled through various social media channels. The Chief Executive of IDA, Mr Barry O’Leary, also held briefings with correspondents from influential outlets including the New York Times and Bloomberg on the issue of Corporate Tax and FDI. IDA Ireland has indicated that it continues to seek opportunities to relay Ireland’s message on corporate tax to key media.
Over 152,000 people are employed directly by 1,000 IDA client companies in Ireland. IDA Ireland has established strong and credible links with its client companies through direct meetings which are supported by overseas missions led by the Taoiseach and Ministers. These meetings provide IDA with the opportunity to reassure its clients about Ireland’s continued commitment to the 12.5% Corporation Tax rate and the actions taken by the Irish Government in the context of work undertaken by the OECD with regard to Base Erosion and Profit Shifting work and the progress made during Ireland’s Presidency of EU to address failings in the international tax system. In regard to the latter, considerable progress was made:
- Throughout the course of the Irish Presidency, Ireland prioritised files that will deliver on “Stability, Jobs and Growth” and outlined how an open, transparent and fair international taxation system is an essential prerequisite to this goal;
- In May, Ireland brokered an ECOFIN agreement on aggressive tax planning and good governance, which was acknowledged by Member States as a significant achievement;
- Ireland secured agreement that such international tax issues cannot be solved by unilateral action by individual countries and stressed the importance of coordination with the OCED;
- A Roadmap for action against aggressive tax planning was outlined in Ireland’s Presidency conclusions;
- The OECD’s Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) project represents that response and BEPS will be the main toolkit of the global effort to tackle these issues;
- The OECD’s report on BEPS will be presented to the G20 in July.
It should also be noted that the OECD acknowledged that Ireland had given “smart and constructive assistance” to developing an international plan for preventing multinationals escaping paying corporation tax altogether. A proposal for addressing the issue is expected to be published shortly and it is envisaged that the measures involved will be implemented over the following two years.