Matt Carthy #UnitedIreland Ep.75

There’s so many crises these days that the public can be forgiven for having outrage fatigue. So we were delighted to be joined in the tortoise shack by Sinn Fein MEP, and GE Candidate for Cavan/Monaghan, Matt Carthy to revisit some of the things that are forgotten, but far from over. We cover the current situation around the €13bn Apple Tax bill and Ireland’s continuing denial of our tax haven status, the real radicalism in Rural Ireland and how we should be preparing for a United Ireland now, not later.
Stay tuned for Martin’s sonnet ‘Oh Matt, You’re Wonderful.’

Luke Ming Flanagan #FutureofEurope Ep.58

EU bureaucrats make decisions that make huge differences in all our lives, for better and for worse. That’s why we are glad that our guest in the tortoise shack, MEP Luke Ming Flanagan, is on the ground in Brussels and fighting our corner. You’ve never heard Luke this animated, mainly because the mainstream never give him the opportunity, but we think you’re going to love this!

Brendan Ogle #Right2Change Ep. 44


Trade Unionist and Social Activist, Brendan Ogle is described in many ways, mostly as a radical. But as he said to us, what sort of country is it that deems the goals of housing, a decent healthcare system and a living wage radical? He sits down with us in the Tortoise Shack to talk about Home Sweet Home, Right2Water, Right2Change and creating a movement in pursuit of these goals.

Martin McMahon #Gigification Ep.40


When it comes to knowing about Bogus Self Employment, Martin McMahon has literally written the book. But he could hardly interview himself. So we put a call out to DIT Lecturer, FOI Guru, Investigative Reporter and friend of the pod, Ken Foxe.
Having written the extensive piece, The Gig Is Up, Martin sits down in the tortoise shack to outline what is really going and why this practice is the real Social Welfare Cheating that Cheat Us All.

Echo Chamber Podcast: Ep 15 Mary McAuliffe


As part of their series of podcasts on the Homelessness Crisis, Martin and Tony are joined by Assistant Professor/Lecturer in Gender Studies, Mary McAuliffe.
Mary is a former president of the Women’s History Association of Ireland. She is a tireless feminist activist and is also a great follow on twitter.

They discuss:
The “inconvenient” voices of women and feminism.
They look at the issue of homelessness and “family hubs” via the prism of our history of warehousing our most vulnerable.
Mary advocates for the naming of the children’s to be: The Kathleen Lynn Hospital.
The changing of Ireland from a Catholic Theocracy, to a Neoliberal Ideology.
They discuss the need for us to own our past and why selling the old Magdalene Laundry on Sean McDermott Street to a hotel chain is a BIG mistake.
Above all else, Mary hammers home the point that throughout our History, and up to today, we convict poor people of poverty.

Mary is a passionate and cogent voice for feminism and an advocate for changing and challenging patriarchal power structures.

It’s a great and inconvenient listen…

Martin, Mary and Dobbie the Elf

The Echo Chamber Podcast: Episode 12 Rory Hearne

Martin and Tony are joined in the tortoise shack by Rory Hearne, Rory among the many strings in his bow (Academic, Author, Political Analyst, Activist) is also a constant thorn in the side of the people who like to say “It’s not that simple”, or “we are where we are”. Basically, he’s the guy in the room who thinks there are solutions, it’s a lack of implementation that holds us back.

They discuss:
How to solve the housing Crisis.
A Republic of opportunity vs a republic of equality.
Is a Left Wing Government possible.
How a unified left could put an alternative Government together.
And they discuss Tuesday’s A Home For All Event which Rory and Erica Fleming will both be speaking at.

There’s also a little story about the day Rory ran with Leo in the Phoenix Park…

Strong language about the destruction of language!

A Home For All

Tony, Rory and Martin

Taxing Truths

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Ireland is a tax haven. This simple statement of fact causes the most ridiculous responses. We get told that we are talking down the country, that we’re not wearing the green jersey. We even get the whopper, preferred by the Minister for Finance Pascahl Donohoe, that the recent OECD report confirmed we weren’t a tax haven.

Firstly, let’s deal with the facts. A recent study of tax havens, €600 Billion and Counting: Why High-Tax Countries Let Tax Havens Flourish, put numbers on what is essentially an organised, tax compliant and totally legal, global larceny. And no, there’s no contradiction in that sentence.

The first key finding is that 45% of multinational company profits are artificially shifted to tax havens. Ireland, as you can see below is the worst legal offender. 45% of profits whisked away to tax havens; that’s like saying that you or I could put almost half of our monthly salary into a tax avoidance scheme.

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The Global Corporate Tax revenue loss is estimated to be over €200 billion per annum, or 12% of Global Corporate Tax Revenue. To put that in context, the World Bank says that global foreign aid totaled €130 billion in 2016. So Multinational Companies shift nearly double the world’s total aid budget for tackling poverty into tax havens.

The next finding is a cracker; the main loser in tax revenue is the EU, with losses estimated to be above 20% of its taxable profits. Now, and here is where it gets mind-bending, the main beneficiaries of this legalised larceny are Ireland, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. 

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The 3-Tax-Haven-Amigos, not mentioned on the above graph, impose real effective tax rates of 2-3% on huge artificial bases and in doing so financially hamper the ability of the combined EU 27 countries to tackle various social crises. So definitively, Ireland is a tax haven.

That doesn’t mean that Minister Donohoe was wrong. He wasn’t, he was just being selective with the way he read the OECD report. The report that he was referencing was the OECD’s Tax Transparency Ratings and was dealing specifically with individual countries legal framework and legal implementation of their own tax laws.

Ireland was the only country of the 3-Tax-Haven-Amigos to achieve a rating of compliant. But rather than it confirming us as not a tax haven, what the OECD report actually confirmed is that we are the best tax haven. We have the most transparent tax avoidance structures in the world. It is, in sales-speak, our Unique Selling Point.

It starts and ends with transfer pricing. In simple terms: if Company A is operating in Germany but opens a small company Company B in Ireland which then assumes ownership of the intellectual property of Company A, then, even though Company A is producing and selling their product in Germany, the profits are taxable in Ireland via Company B.

This Transfer Pricing method, the study found, has resulted in high-tax countries stealing from each other, while letting tax havens flourish, in the name of free market competition. Companies like Apple, Google and Facebook have True Global Profits of totaling tens of billions, yet using the profit shifting are able to only show Observable Profits of hundred of millions.

This sounds like a good deal for Ireland and our other Amigos, right? Not really, no. The average profit for multinationals per employee in a non-haven is 34%. In Ireland it’s almost 200%. Simply put, Ireland gets one sixth the number of jobs equivalent to non-havens for the same money. See below:

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There is a simple solution to this conundrum, something that could end transfer pricing overnight and see a more equitable re-balancing of both the tax take and ultimately the workforce: make the profits taxable where the jobs are.

So if Company A employs 10,000 people in Germany and 5,000 in Ireland then it can only “shift” 50% of its profits.

This, I’d argue, is not something we should be afraid of. Rather than costing Ireland jobs, such a strategy should create more jobs. Remember, we are the most transparent tax haven in the world. Why wouldn’t the multinationals increase their workforce’s here if it meant increasing shareholder value?

So, yes, Ireland is a tax haven. That’s not up for debate any longer. The debate must now move on into how we make us the best little tax haven in the world in which to create jobs. An transparent low corporate tax, high job economy. It’s possible and it’s certainly a damned site more ethical than what we are currently doing.

Tony Groves

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Other Graphs of Interest: IMG_6431IMG_6425