Monthly Archives For May 2013

Ireland Allows Google To Send it’s Profits Straight to Bermuda Company Which is Actually in Ireland

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In my long article in the first issue of Irish Left Review on Ireland’s corporate tax regime I made the point that Ireland in effect sells its abilities to make tax laws to profit hungry MNCs, in much the same way as it sells to the rights to our natural resources to large oil companies. That is, whatever economic benefit there is, and its small, goes to the ‘agents’ who negotiate the deal, with very little, if any, benefit appearing in the economy.

Still, with all the attention being on Google for a while now, there was one fact about the Irish government’s arrangements with the search engine company that I had missed.

Recently these arrangements, known as the Double Irish with the Dutch Sandwich have been given a lot of attention and are often explained. For example, see this New York Times info graphic. However, while listening to Jim Stewart’s interview on Morning Ireland last Friday in a conversation about Google’s ‘grilling’ before the UK’s Public Accounts Committee on taxation, I found out that the ‘Dutch Sandwich’ is no longer used, and instead Google’s earnings from its EMEA market goes from Google Ireland to Google Ireland Holdings, which is registered in a solicitor’s office at 70 Sir John Rogerson’s Quay and also in Bermuda. So, by passing these to the Bermuda registered company, the earnings go straight to Bermuda. Google Ireland Holdings has no employees and is ‘owned’ by Google Bermuda which also has no employees. Both are unlimited companies, so under Irish law, they do not have to publish accounts.

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New LookLeft out now!

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Ireland’s leading magazine for progressive news, views and solutions – available in Easons stores and selected newsagents across the country – 48 pages for just €2/£1.50

In the new issue of LookLeft:

Rising tide against austerity: Working people and the Fine Gael/Labour Government are on a collision course over the property tax and attempts to cut public sector pay, reports Kevin Brannigan

The G8 comes to town:Kevin Squires looks at the impact the 39th G8 summit will have.

Learning Division: Fifteen years ago progressives recognised the signing of the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) as a positive development. However, fears that its structures would allow for communal politics to be institutionalised have been realised particularly in the provision of education, writes Justin O’Hagan.

Mobilising a generation: Young Irish people facing sharply limited opportunities at home or emigration are beginning to mobilise, reports Dara McHugh.

Precious few heroes: With his politically charged songs Dick Gaughan has inspired generations of Left activists, Kevin Brannigan caught up with the veteran Scottish folk singer during his spring tour of Ireland

No turning back from here: The Venezuelan revolution has dramatically changed not only the politics of Latin America also but the globe, reports Paul Dillon.

The tyranny of the credit rating agencies: Democratic accountability is being eroded by credit rating capitalism, writes Srinivas Raghavendra

Of live dogs and dead lions: Following the death of Hugo Chávez, Richard McAleavey assesses the Irish media’s representation of the ormer Venezuelan President.

Calling the bigots bluff: Do anti-choicers want follow through the with the logic of their argument and imprison women, asks Katie Garrett.

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Framing “The Gatekeepers”

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This was originally published on Raymond Deane’s blog, the Deanery on the 16th of May.

As everyone knows by now, The Gatekeepers is a 2012 Academy award-nominated documentary film made by the Israeli director Dror Moreh. Moreh succeeded in interviewing the last six heads of Israel’s General Security Services, better known by its Hebrew acronym Shin Bet. These gentlemen display considerable frankness about the nature of their past activities, their belated advocacy of a two-state solution to the Palestine issue and their negative views of successive Israeli governments.

It’s not my purpose here to write another review of this much talked-about but surprisingly uncontroversial film. Interesting articles, both of which discuss it in conjunction with the Israeli/Palestinian film 5 Broken Cameras, may be read here and here. Instead, I wish to reflect on some worrisome aspects of the film’s framing and reception in public discourse, and to suggest that its propagandistic effect is dependent on such framing.

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The May Issue of Socialist Voice is Out Now

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The May issue of Socialist Voice is out now. It can also be view online (pdf) or below.


  • Irish austerity: Change of words but not of policy [EMC]
  • Medical cards under savage attack [MA]
  • Water and woods to be flogged off [MA]
  • Reform or transform? The confusion of growth economics—Part 1 [NL]
  • Croke Park II rejected [Anne Casey]
  • The capitalist crisis and the demolition of workers’ rights [NC]
  • Can we learn from Cuba?—A response [EON]
  • Venezuela: Electoral challenge a coup attempt [RCN]
  • Colombians call for solidarity [SE]
  • The Progressive Film Club: an inspiration and an education [PD]
  • Ireland’s neutrality demonstrated again

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Full-Sized Life

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A story by Susan Millar DuMars

Luke swallowed the bird on a cold, clear December night – trees of bone, the river in a silver-black sulk. He’d waved off a taxi, needing the air after all those back-slapping pints. Crossing the bridge toward the cathedral, he thought how the dome at night was a great green helmet; the windows, unreadable eyes. He remembered funerals, several, in the past year. Muttering responses to prayers, following the coffin out slow and stiff-legged. Luke crossed himself without knowing he did it. As his hand fell it brushed the old stone banister of the bridge and he thought for a moment of the river beneath him, God and Death in front of him. Himself suspended in a comfortable middle age. How lucky. How very lucky.

Though even as he plumped and pinked with a sense of good fortune, another voice inside him contradicted. “Earned! Surely, earned. He lifted his other arm and gazed at what he clutched. The book. His book. Bringer of Light: The Life and Poems of Malachy Flynn. Launched into the world this evening in a modest, yet satisfying, ceremony.

The applause had been warm and lasting. Loyola had beamed. Afterward, in the pub, many pints of Erdinger were bought him. Loyola had drunk half an orange juice and had driven herself home to prepare a late supper. He’d promised to be home before the meat turned tough.

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Left MEPs to debate austerity and abortion rights in Dublin

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GUE/NGL MEPs will take part in two days of debates and talks at the Gresham Hotel in Dublin as part of the Group’s study days in Ireland.

At 3pm this afternoon GUE/NGL MEP Mikael Gustafsson, Chair of the European Parliament’s Women’s Rights and Gender Equality committee will moderate a seminar on ‘Abortion Rights in Ireland’, with guest contributions from Sinéad Redmond (Abortion Rights Campaign), Jacqueline Healy (National Women’s Council), and Niall Behan (Irish Family Planning Association). There will also be a political tour of Dublin and a talk and Q&A on the 1913 lockout by historian Donal Fallon, chaired by GUE/NGL MEP Inês Zuber.

On Thursday at 9am GUE/NGL MEP Paul Murphy will chair discussions on ‘Austerity and the Fightback’ with guest speakers Jimmy Kelly (UNITE Regional Secretary), Rita Fagan (Spectacle of Defiance), Peadar Toibín TD (Save Navan Hospital Campaign), Matthew Waine (Campaign Against Household and Water Taxes), and Michael McCabe (Campaign for Independent Living).

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Why Ireland’s 2008 Blanket Bank Guarantee Decision Was Taken? Part 4

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For many the detail about the pressure which was widely reported to have been applied by the ECB for Ireland to enter the 2010 Troika bailout has coloured their understanding of the original blanket guarantee. The extent of the guarantee and the large sums being poured into our failed banks ensured that a bailout would be required. It was hardly a coincidence that the bailout occurred in the months after the blanket guarantee ran out on the 29th of September 2010.

The ECB’s insistence that the promissory note for Anglo Irish Bank and other unsecured unguaranteed bonds should be paid have led people to think that it was ECB pressure that led to the 2008 – 2010 guarantee in the first place. I have tried over the previous posts to unravel this myth and show that it was an Irish decision alone put in place for very local reasons. In fact, the ECB warned the Irish government that under Maastrict (where the cost of borrowing is dependent on maintaining a good credit rating in the financial markets) the guarantee could cause substantial funding problems for the sovereign. Other events disprove it, including the fact that an attempt by the Greek government to also bring in an unlimited guarantee immediately after the Irish made their announcement was rescinded due to pressure from EU Commission. Neelie Kroes, EU competition commissioner at the time said “A guarantee without limits is not allowed”.

Of course, the myth has its own political uses and it’s not surprising that there has been very little examination to date of the guarantee. But even any future Public Accounts Committee examination and its ‘who said what in the room on the night’ scope will not provide much clarity. Looked at from the perspective of class and power, however, examining the guarantee reveals much about how both work in Ireland. Such a focus would not fixate on the technical detail of whether dated subordinated bonds should have been included, or whether Dermot Desmond was there behind the curtain throwing his voice in to the mouth of Brian Cowen. Instead, the focus should be on the decisions made in the context of how the Irish government behaved in the past when other Irish financial institutions went into freefall. We tend to see 2008 as a rupture, but in terms of understanding why certain decisions are made it’s more useful to examine the continuities. After all, this was not the first time that Ireland provided a blank cheque for Irish banks.

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What’s Left After the ULA?


Originally posted on Links International Journal of Socialist Renewal on the 29th of April.

This brief report intends to outline the situation within the Irish left following the slow implosion of the United Left Alliance (ULA).

The ULA was an alliance made up of the Socialist Party (affiliated to the Committee for a Workers’ International, CWI), the Socialist Workers Party (the International Socialist Tendency, IST), the Workers and Unemployed Action Group (WUAG, a locally based group with public representation including a member of Ireland’s parliament [TD] and numerous municipal councillors). It also included smaller groups such as the Irish Socialist Network and Socialist Democracy.

The ULA was initially very successful by Irish left standards and won five TDs. Though, it should be understood most, if not all, of these victories did not come only from the unity project itself but from literally decades of work by the various groups.

However, seeing the left under a single banner with a serious electoral challenge did initially attract many activists to its banner.

The ULA unfortunately lasted less than two years and today exists in name only.

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