We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.
The 51st State?

Former BoI chief: Ireland should become the 51st state

Mike Soden tells the Sunday Independent that we’d be better off quitting the EU and becoming part of the USA.

A FORMER CHIEF EXECUTIVE of Bank of Ireland – and a newly-appointed member of the Central Bank Commission – has told the Sunday Independent that Ireland should leave the European Union and become part of the United States.

In an interview published by the paper this morning, Soden argues that membership of the European Union is inherent harmful to Ireland if it stops the country from being able to dictate the pace of its economic recovery or control over its own spending.

“Our membership of Europe has to have balance in all aspects, particularly in relation to our culture, our sovereignty and the price we pay for economic and financial independence,” Soden told Ronald Quinlan.

“Have we unwittingly surrendered these precious aspects of our society as the price of European Union membership?”

Moreover, he argues, Ireland would reap greater economic and political benefits by cutting ties with Europe entirely and forging an alliance with the United States that would see the country sacrifice its sovereignty to become a 51st state.

“The possible consequences of political and economic association with the US would be a massive influx of foreign direct investment, a link to the US dollar, a reduction in unemployment, and who knows, maybe an annual payment for a number of years to get our finances back in balance.”

The notion that Ireland would be surrendering its independence would be moot, he said, because its sovereignty had already been cast aside by its entry into what was effectively a European superstate.

If Ireland were to become a part of the United States, however, it would have to sacrifice its hallmark corporate tax rate of 12.5%, credited with stimulating much of the investment here, and replace it with the American federal rate which levies tax of 35% on profits over $18.3m.

Ireland is being forced to cut its budget deficit to 3% of GDP by 2014, in line with the European limits, by the European council of finance ministers – despite the ESRI this week saying it feared the level of spending cuts needed to meet the target could cripple the Irish economy for up to a decade.

Soden resigned as CEO of Bank of Ireland in May 2004, after admitting he had used his office internet connection to access inappropriate material. He was appointed to the board of the new Central Bank Commission by Brian Lenihan for a four-year term that began on October 1.

Earlier this month, Soden told RTÉ he advocated the introduction of a 5.5 day working week to help stimulate further economic output.

Readers like you are keeping these stories free for everyone...
A mix of advertising and supporting contributions helps keep paywalls away from valuable information like this article. Over 5,000 readers like you have already stepped up and support us with a monthly payment or a once-off donation.

Your Voice
Readers Comments
    Submit a report
    Please help us understand how this comment violates our community guidelines.
    Thank you for the feedback
    Your feedback has been sent to our team for review.