David McWilliams: Ireland a tax haven? I don’t think so

Our globalised economy is fuelled by multinationals and this makes us much better-off

Microsoft’s campus in south Dublin: the company has a very real team of 2,700 employees in Ireland. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

Microsoft’s campus in south Dublin: the company has a very real team of 2,700 employees in Ireland. Photograph: Brenda Fitzsimons

In January 1988, the Economist magazine carried a special report on Ireland entitled “The poorest of the rich”. Our economy was in a tailspin. Emigration was skyrocketing, we had just devalued the currency for the fourth time in a decade and the country was flirting with a debt crisis.

Capital and talent continued to flow out of the country, leaving a fragile shell of vulnerable local companies and a bloated public service, undermined by a current account deficit. In short, a basket case.

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