Trump tax plan will see ‘flood of companies’ leave Ireland

Taoiseach says president elect was ‘complimentary’ about Irish policy despite adviser’s tax warning

Labour leader Brendan Howlin says TDs have received phone calls to their offices from people asking about what is being done to address the "precarious situation" of the 50,000 undocumented Irish in the US in the wake of Donald Trump's election.

 

One of Donald Trump’s top advisers has warned a “flood of companies” will leave Ireland under the president-elect’s planned new tax regime.

Stephen Moore, senior economic adviser to Mr Trump, said the centrepiece plan of the new Washington administration was wooing back multinationals with radical business tax cuts.

“I believe that when we cut these tax rates – we’re going to cut our business tax rate from roughly 35 per cent down to roughly 15- 20 per cent – if you do that you are going to see a flood of companies leaving Ireland and Canada and Germany and France and they are going to come back to the United States,” he said.

“It is going to have a very high impact on jobs.”

Mr Moore, formerly a chief economist with US conservative think-tank The Heritage Foundation, said the effort to entice companies back from low corporate tax-rate countries would be central to boosting the US economy.

This was the “single most important thing for our country right now”, he told BBC Radio 4’s World At One.

“There is no question about it, and we see day after day in this country that we are losing our businesses and our corporations,” he said.

“They are effectively renouncing their US citizenship and they are moving to Canada, to Britain, to Ireland, to China and Mexico.

“That is a significant loss of jobs and we want to have the jobs here in the United States, we don’t want to have them go abroad.”

Phone call

The comments follow a 10-minute phone call between Mr Trump and Enda Kenny during which the Taoiseach was invited to the White House for St Patrick’s Day in 2017.

The Taoiseach congratulated Mr Trump on his victory and “both men committed to working together to the mutual benefit of Ireland and the United States,” according to a spokeswoman for Mr Kenny.

Mr Trump confirmed that, “in the spirit of the strong ties between the two countries”, he would uphold the tradition of inviting taoisigh to the White House for St Patrick’s Day and extended the invitation to Mr Kenny.

Speaking in Dublin on Thursday morning, Mr Kenny said he specifically raised the annual St Patrick’s Day visits with Mr Trump.

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“I had a very good conversation with the president elect,” the Taoiseach said.

“He understands Ireland very well, he was complimentary about the decisions made about the economy here. He is looking forward to doing business with Ireland and I asked him specifically about Patrick’s Day, he is looking forward to continuing that tradition over many years.

Immigration

“And I confirmed to him that we would work very closely with the administration he appoints in January and obviously we will have a lot of discussion about the details that are important for us, as I pointed out in my letter yesterday to him and to the vice-president, the importance of putting immigration back on the administration’s budget, Northern Ireland, the peace process and so on.

“I look forward to continuing that conversation again fairly soon.”

The statement issued by Mr Kenny on Wednesday offered Mr Trump congratulations “on behalf of the Government and the people of Ireland”.

“Ireland and the United States have enjoyed a very close and warm relationship for many generations and I am confident that under his leadership our bilateral relations will continue to prosper,” said the statement.

Mr Kenny had previously said comments made by the Republican during his election campaign were “racist and dangerous”.

On Wednesday in the Dáil, Mr Kenny said Mr Trump had made those comments in the “heat of battle”, but had promised to heal the wounds of a divisive campaign in his acceptance speech.

Campaign comments

Minister for Housing Simon Coveney on Thursday said the invitation by Mr Trump was an important gesture.

He said it offered a reassurance to people that business between the Ireland and the United States would continue.

Mr Coveney said: “Of course there are a lot of people concerned. A lot of what was said during this presidential campaign was very bitter, nasty and concerned a lot of people.

“What we need to do now is judge the president-elect on his comments as president-elect.”

The Minister said Ireland had such an important relationship with the US and it needed to reinforce and maintain that.

Mr Coveney said people may not forget the comments of Mr Trump during the presidential campaign. However, he said the decision had been made by the American people.

The Minister said Ireland needed to focus on the relationship going forward rather than looking back.

‘More than a photo op’

Labour leader Brendan Howlin described the St Patrick’s Day invitation as “much more than just a photo op”.

“There are really deep interpersonal relationships with important American players and Ireland. Will the next interaction with the Trump presidency be as deep and as meaningful as that? There are people like Pence around Donald Trump and within the Republican party at senior level; to maintain those close relations, we need to cultivate those now.”

Speaking on RTÉ’s Today with Seán O’Rourke, Mr Howlin said: “I can’t think of any other political event that fills me with as much dread as a Trump presidency.”

He said he did not believe Mr Trump would abandon the campaign rhetoric, and he was unlikely to reverse his climate change stance.

“He has made promises to his core electorate to bring back coal. It’s almost like bring back the 1950s – bring back coal and steel, motor town. He has to make an effort to do all those things.

“The notion that he will reverse his thinking on climate change, on immigration is fanciful. We have to be careful to protect our citizens especially those who are feeling very vulnerable across the United States now. That means giving good legal advice to people who are very anxious right now.”

Mr Howlin added: “We can’t swallow feelings of concern or airbrush them away. He incited the worst elements of hatred against minorities for his own ends; that is despicable.

“There are a lot of people in world positions that we don’t agree with. We should articulate our views about them; doesn’t mean we shouldn’t meet them.”

Additional reporting: PA