Seanad debates

Thursday, 14 December 2017

10:30 am

Photo of Rose Conway WalshRose Conway Walsh (Sinn Fein) | Oireachtas source

During the week we found out that Facebook put €12.6 billion through the State but only paid €29.5 million in tax. Obviously, the multinationals can see the changes in terms of the base erosion and profit sharing, BEPS, and everything else. The writing is on the wall in terms of Ireland's over-dependence on multinationals. However, responsible multinationals are always welcome here.

Yesterday, Senator Tim Lombard mentioned the seaweed industry and called for the Minister to come to the House to debate it. I am happy to support his suggestion and I also support the calls made by Senators Ó Clochartaigh and Grace O'Sullivan today on the same issue. Sinn Féin has raised the issue of seaweed for a long time. One might ask what is the connection between Facebook and seaweed. I believe it was a major mistake to sell Arramara Teoranta to Acadian Seaplants, a deal surrounded in secrecy. I believe the sale started off the push for mechanical seaweed harvesting all along our coastal areas.Seaweed is a significant natural resource that can give rise to many indigenous businesses and cottage industries in rural areas. We could link into it using, for example, the STEM subjects that were mentioned in order to promote employment, enterprise and innovation, but we have failed to do that. Instead, we again took the route of privatisation and selling off what was owned by a State company, in this instance Údarás na Gaeltachta. It is wrong that licences are awarded before everything has been clarified. I look forward to the Minister telling the Seanad in the new year how we can proactively generate jobs using a wonderful natural resource that is valued throughout the world and available to us in our coastal areas.


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