Fintan O’Toole: Ireland is becoming the tax haven of choice for profit-shifting multinationals

Our national symbol is no longer the Tricolour but a big sign saying ‘12.5%’

Tax haven: Yanis Varoufakis says Ireland is a freerider piggybacking on the rest of the world. Photograph: Matteo Bazzi/AFP/Getty

Tax haven: Yanis Varoufakis says Ireland is a freerider piggybacking on the rest of the world. Photograph: Matteo Bazzi/AFP/Getty

If some malicious fairy cursed us to have to speak only the truth, we would be forced to admit that our most precious national symbol is not the Tricolour or the harp or the shamrock. It is a big flashing sign that says, simply, “12.5 per cent”.

Ireland’s low corporation-tax rate is not just the lure we dangle in front of multinational investors. It has become virtually the only unqualified expression of Irish sovereignty.

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