Oliver Callan: Big Tech rides roughshod over democracy

Job are desirable but State should not change laws to facilitate light-taxed Apple and its ilk

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told Apple executives he would consider changes to the strategic infrastructure Act to speed up the planning process for “large-scale projects” such as its Athenry data centre.  Photograph: Tom Honan

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told Apple executives he would consider changes to the strategic infrastructure Act to speed up the planning process for “large-scale projects” such as its Athenry data centre. Photograph: Tom Honan

Last month, Amazon launched a contest for its second American headquarters, causing an unseemly bidding war among cities. Tucson tried to send the company’s chief executive Jeff Bezos a giant cactus. Tulsa recruited 50 people to examine videos of him to work out ways to court him. Philadelphia said it would overhaul its tax system. Detroit pledged to relax immigration laws. The prize is a $5 billion investment and 50,000 jobs.

In Ireland we recognise this culture of corporate welfare only too well. Our State agencies fall over each other to offer incentives to conglomerates to do something they were planning anyway. The jobs prize is a fraud, because whichever country wins this time or the next, the firm wins every time. How much of a victory is it when workers appear to be the main part of the multinational paying taxes to fund public services?

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