Ireland needs ‘unique selling point’ besides corporate tax rate, says Murphy

Taoiseach says lower tax rate was never the key point in attracting overseas investment

Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy said the planned OECD corporate tax rate of 15 per cent deal is part of a list of serious problems that could affect Ireland’s ability to attract overseas investment. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy said the planned OECD corporate tax rate of 15 per cent deal is part of a list of serious problems that could affect Ireland’s ability to attract overseas investment. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

The Government has been challenged in the Dáil to provide an alternative strategy and “unique selling point” to replace lower corporate tax rates, as a new global rate is now “inevitable”.

Social Democrats Kildare North TD Catherine Murphy said the planned Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) corporate tax rate of 15 per cent deal is part of a list of serious problems that will affect Ireland’s ability to attract overseas investment.

“Why would you go to a country where workers can’t afford a home – where the lights are at risk of going out?” she asked during Leaders’ Questions in the Dáil.

Ms Murphy challenged Taoiseach Micheál Martin to find a new “unique selling point” to replace the current corporate tax rate and asked what the State’s new strategy on foreign investment would be.

She said the new higher tax rate was inevitable as she pointed to the doubts cast on the Intel plant in her constituency benefiting from a planned €80 billion microchip investment because of concerns about water and energy supplies.

Ireland is the only EU country where primary health care is not free at the point of delivery, Ms Murphy said, adding that the State’s health, housing and public transport system are among the worst in western Europe, adding to the difficulties of attracting investment.

Pointing to Mr Martin’s previous remarks about the OECD global tax rate and those of Tánaiste Leo Varadkar, she said they were signalling that Ireland would have to increase its rate from 12.5 per cent to 15 per cent.

The Taoiseach said, however, that the lower tax rate was never the key point in attracting overseas investment. He stressed that the OECD deal was not done and significant aspects had still to be negotiated.

He stressed the importance of Ireland’s position as the only English-speaking EU member state and the highly educated workforce, and said it was thanks to free secondary education since the 1960s and significant investment since.

Mr Martin was confident that Ireland will continue to attract high-level industry and quality jobs and Intel was a good example of this.