Harmony and the European Union


Sir, – As EU leaders press Ireland for tax harmonisation, might I suggest that Leo Varadkar respond to his European counterparts along these lines.

Harmony is a musical term defined as “the simultaneous sounding of different notes to make musical sense”. It is the principle behind duets, choral singing and orchestral playing, whether by the Everly Brothers or Elgar. It adds colour, emotion and delight to musical works. Its opposite is singing in unison, where the tune is at its simplest, but unexciting.

The principles of harmony can be found everywhere. It is the foundation of diversity, relationships, teamwork, and collegiate efforts. It is encapsulated in the US motto, E Pluribus Unum (“Out of many, one”) or in the French, Vive la différence.

So, the Taoiseach can tell his colleagues that Ireland’s tax system is already harmonised, being simultaneously different from others. If the EU leaders want a change, they should at least name it correctly. They don’t want harmony; they want uniformity. – Yours, etc,


Dún Laoghaire,

Co Dublin.