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European elections 2019

Question: Do you want Ireland to maintain its current corporation tax regime?

Ireland’s corporation tax currently stands at 12.5%.

In our audit of the Midlands North West European election candidates, we asked candidates to answer questions on nine of the most pressing issues facing Ireland and Europe in the coming years.

Do you want Ireland to maintain its current corporation tax regime? 

Matt Carthy

Sinn Féin has consistently defended Ireland’s tax and economic sovereignty, including the right to set our own tax rates and operate our own tax system. We have opposed the proposed CCCTB and digital services tax at the EU level for these reasons. We are strongly opposed to the drive by some EU leaders to move to end the principle of voting on tax issues through unanimity in the Council.

At the same time, I recognise that the Irish government is facilitating industrial-scale tax avoidance by mainly US multinational corporations, particularly those that deal with intellectual property. This is deeply unfair to the Irish people, who are in some cases paying more taxes than the wealthiest corporations in the world, as well as being unfair to citizens in other countries that are being denied tax revenues. It is also damaging to Ireland’s international reputation, reflected in the recent vote labelling Ireland a tax haven by the European Parliament.

Fidelma Healy Eames


Anne Rabbitte

While we have a very talented workforce that attracts major international companies, there’s no point ignoring the fact that one of the reasons Ireland attracts such a major share of foreign direct investment (FDI) is because of our current rate of corporation tax.

It’s estimated that 20% of all private sector employment is linked directly or indirectly to FDI, while it also makes a significant contribution to the Exchequer when it comes to taxation. It’s a vital, if not sometimes overly relied upon, cog in the machine.

With this in mind, it’s important that we do maintain the current rate. Companies do need to be paying their fair share, however, and not be able to skirt around the laws to such an extent that the Exchequer is losing out on additional funds, which are key to providing and improving our public services.

Saoirse McHugh

No, I think we should end base erosion and profit shifting. In more than just a tokenistic way. It, to me, is unconscionable that we allow companies move profits here to avoid paying tax in the countries where it is due.

I also think we need to look at and change our tax rates, currently we are engaged in a race to the bottom. We should be competing for companies by having cities where a large educated workforce can afford to live with a high quality of life.

Brendan Smith

Yes. My colleagues and I are opposed to tax harmonisation. We will oppose any measures to erode this core member state competency.

Tax must remain a matter of national sovereignty.

Ireland is fully engaged in the OECD BEPS process and there is mutual benefit in working in cooperation to tackle tax avoidance. Efforts to depict our competitive tax rate as a tax haven are deeply disingenuous.

Cyril Brennan

No. Corporations should be paying a minimum tax rate of at least 12.5%. In reality, they are paying less than half of that at the moment because of all the tax loopholes.

Peter Casey

Companies which set up in rural Ireland should be tax-free for the first two years and capital gains tax free if they sell the business within 15 years. We need to encourage more investment to Rural Ireland so we can develop the economy here.

Mairead McGuinness

Tax is a national competence. In Ireland, we have made adaptations in recent years closing loopholes such as the “double Irish”. As the Taoiseach has said, corporations should pay their fair share of tax. Approaches to tackling tax avoidance and evasion should be done in the context of the OECD – as this is a global issue which requires global corporations to pay tax.

Maria Walsh


Patrick Greene

Yes, but only if the corporations pay the low rate of 12.5% not the .005% they actually pay. This extremely low percentage was reported about back in the late 1980’s early 1990’s and the IDA with the tax collectors replied to the journalists at the time that they “…hope the corporations will stick to the spirit of the tax laws…”

Successive Irish governments run by FF, FG, Labour the greens and with independents and don’t forget the progressive democrats have failed the Irish nation miserably forcing taxes on families instead of corporations.

Michael O’Dowd

I want Ireland to maintain control over its tax regime and I support the 12% corporation tax rate.

Kathleen McNamee
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