Ryan rejects German Green claims of Irish 'tax dumping'


Green Party leader Eamon Ryan has hit back at claims by Germany’s Green Party that Ireland does not deserve further EU solidarity while continuing its policy of “tax dumping”.

Last week Jürgen Trittin, the party’s Bundestag leader, said “Ireland’s tax dumping and lax bank regulation . . . damages other member states in a massive way”.

In a letter yesterday, Mr Ryan wrote of his “surprise and disappointment” at remarks he described as “perplexing”. He criticised his German colleague for being unclear over whether he was criticising Ireland’s corporate tax rate or tax arrangements used by multinationals to shift their profits from one jurisdiction to the next.

“If the latter, then remedy of this would require a change in US tax law. If the corporation tax rate, then I would ask you to include in your considerations an evaluation or appreciation of the specific needs of peripheral countries,” wrote Mr Ryan.

“We face higher transport costs and lower economies of scale than many of our continental counterparts. If we insist that everything is done in line with the larger economies, then how does a country like Ireland benefit from the massive defence budgets, the nuclear power subsidies and from the purchasing power advantages of the larger economies?”

Mr Ryan conceded Ireland’s banking regulatory regime was a “serious fault” that “contributed in no small way to our current crisis”.

“However, so did the historically low interest rates set by the ECB, which fanned the flames of the already overheating Irish economy,” he wrote. “It was a collective failing, not a specific Irish one, which caused the wider damage across Europe.”