U2 claim they worked for IDA during recession
Bono said band wanted to help country that ‘has been so good to us and that we love’
In an interview with Hot Press magazine, Bono indicates that U2 had been involved in private philanthropy during the recession, although the band regarded it as a “personal and private matter”. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons/The Irish Times
Bono has claimed U2 helped Ireland out during the recession by working with the IDA. The singer said the band had worked to bring foreign direct investment to Ireland as a way of repaying the country that has “been so good to us and that we love”.
“We felt what we could be useful with was trying to get more companies to come to Ireland. So we went to work for the IDA. And I do, and I still do.”
He said the Irish people had been “badly treated. It was a very unjust situation that the public bailed out private sector wrongdoing”.
In an interview with Hot Press magazine, he indicated that U2 had been involved in private philanthropy during the recession although the band regarded it as a “personal and private matter”. However, U2 went public on the €5 million it gave to the Music Generation fund for young people.
Bono said U2 had moved their tax affairs to the Netherlands in 2006 as a matter of principle. He told interviewer Olaf Tyaransen: “The principle was this: that tax competitiveness was working for the country if tax competitiveness was a government priority because it paid for more hospital beds and firemen and whatever it is, that culture was a good thing.”
He said it was “intellectually absurd” for Irish people to criticise Irish firms for moving their tax affairs abroad when the country had benefited so much from a competitive tax regime.
“You’re either into it or you’re not into it. Is it right or wrong? The real hypocrisy is saying ‘it’s fine for the country, but it’s not fine for U2 to think like that’. That doesn’t add up.”
He said the Irish nation had a right to tax competitiveness even if it annoyed larger countries. “They have scale. We don’t. We have to be innovative.”
Hot Press is out tomorrow.