Tuesday, 13 October 2020
Financial Resolution No. 4: Corporation Tax
I take it that there are no objections to Financial Resolutions Nos. 5 and 6, which are anti-tax avoidance and technical measures. The same goes for Financial Resolution No. 4, to which Deputy Cullinane referred. To avoid any confusion, this is an anti-avoidance measure and a technical measure. The Government is proposing and supports it, and it is very much in line with what we have been doing in recent years, whether that is abolishing the concept of stateless corporations or removing the double Irish. There is no conversion. In the different Governments of which I have been a member, going back to 2011, we have always sought the close tax loopholes. When clever tax lawyers find ways around our tax laws, we then find clever ways around them. Deputy Howlin can attest to that, so there is no conversion here at all. We have been doing this since 2011.
What Deputy Doherty proposed was quite different. It was an additional tax of €720 million on multinational corporations. We are not proposing that tonight. That would be a very different proposal and it is one with which I respectfully disagree. Why do I disagree with it? It is because I think we should have learned something from the past 12 years. We are experiencing the second recession in 12 years. This is a very different type of recession but one thing has been constant in these two recessions, and that is that the strength of our multinational corporations has helped Ireland recover.
The first recession concerned a banking crash and a construction and property bubble that went bust. We were lifted out of that recession by our multinational corporations, which kept employing people, exporting and paying taxes. I refer also to other traded sectors, such tourism and agri-food. The reason why our economy has only shrunk this year by about 2%, which is much less than other countries, is because of the strength of our multinational corporations, such as the technology companies, the pharmaceutical companies and the medical device companies.
Those are the companies that have been making a lot of money during this period because people have needed their services. If it was not for those companies, and the taxes they pay and the people they employ, we would be in a much worse position today. If Sinn Féin was in office, leading a Government, or if we had a Government of the left in Ireland, I have no doubt but that our country would be less attractive to those companies and that they would be elsewhere. With them would go the investment, the jobs and the taxes, and there would be less money for health, education and everything else that we found money for today.