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THE REAL APPLE ISSUE — 6 Comments

  1. As a well-wishing outsider with Irish blood in him, this article offers an answer to the question it poses.

    Ireland fought a war last time it achieved "independence", because most Irish people wanted to govern their own affairs. But Irish people no longer govern their own affairs. This has been the case ever since Ireland committed by treaty to "ever closer union" inside an emerging supra-national sovereign entity, an incipient federal union in which they and their elected representatives comprise only a tiny fraction of the whole.

    So the problem isn't actually that the EU isn't democratic. Even if it were the most democratic form of government ever invented (and it clearly isn't) the fact that Germans and French and the rest with a very different view of what Ireland's tax arrangements should be from how the Irish people and their elected politicians themselves see it is all that really matters. The inescapable political arithmetic does the rest. Ireland will always be out-voted. And as the EU moves more and more governmental powers to the centre, more and more things that bind the Irish people will be decided by people whom they didn't elect and whom they can never sack.

    The outlines of this are becoming clearer by the year: already we see moves towards an EU army, an EU foreign policy, strong pressure for EU-mandated asylum and immigration management, an EU criminal justice system, and so on and so forth. In each area the Irish, if they should disagree with the big decision-makers, are going to be dragged along kicking and screaming. Exemptions are simply not going to be on offer.

    It seems to me that the Irish people therefore need to think once again about whether they want "independence" and the ability to govern their own affairs, though ideally this time without having to fight a war over it.

    • Welcome Nick and thank you for your insight, with which I agree.

      I believe that this attack on Ireland and Apple is a test case for the EU to establish precedents everywhere for the future. Having said that though, it is not immediately apparent to me just what the instigators would consider a victorious outcome or a defeat.

      I have alluded to a certain unease felt here and this will grow to a growl if Apple or one of the other big guys close up shop. Our Government knows this as well and I suspect our side will have talked to the EU side and asked, “Do you want us out of the fucking Union as well?”

      We’ll see!

       

  2. I can only hope that your politicians finally find a bit of backbone between them and offer you a referendum on Irexit. There will be at least 52% of the UK cheering you on!

    When the Europhiles tell you about the tragedies that will immediately befall you if you dare to consider leaving, we can demonstrate that they're wrong.

    Of course, if the EU does drive Apple, Google, Dell and all the others out of Ireland, I'm sure we can accomodate them….

    • Mick,

      Politicians with backbone? Now there’s a novel idea!

      But politicians with a vested interest in keeping their jobs is not so novel. This corporate tax harmony bullshit has been growing in noise since BREXIT and our lads have already told the foreigners it is a ‘red-line issue’ for us. 

      Maybe their english is not that good?

       

  3. I first visited Ireland in 1975 on a junket, when I worked for the London subsidiary of a French company (Gerland) which, amongst other interests, made vinyl floor coverings which the English operation imported from France and Ireland, and marketed and distributed throughout GB (Ireland did its own sales thing).

    We were all flown to Dublin and coached down to I forget where, to visit the Irish factory which made their most popular range of cutting edge cushioned vinyl, which London imported and sold containers of monthly.

    Even as a teenaged ignoramus I was struck by the enthusiasm and professionalism of the Irish operation, which truthfully boasted of being the most advanced factory of its type in Europe (and hence, bar the USA, the world). It had a control room like Star Trek's bridge, they talked of dimensional tolerances of 1/10th milimetre and temperature variances of 1/10th of a degree.

    Ireland wasn't a swamp of cowherds before Apple came along – it already had hi-tech investment from a variety of European countries. Apple was the cream on top. 

    • Fred,

      Your point is well made and there were some industries here of course, but industrial output was low, even taking into account our small  population. In the fifties and early sixties a concerted effort was made to try to industrialise. Irish Steel was set up and Ford’s began assembling cars in Cork bringing Dunlop to the factory space beside them to make tyres. There was even a small ship-builder on the coast but the scale of everything was small and in pure earning terms, agriculture was still the biggie. 

      But what I mean by industrial revolution is home-grown engineering, iron works and a heavy industrial base. you see, we had no history of it and stories like Gerland, you mentioned, were there alright but were isolated examples. In terms of natural resources, we harvested the peat bogs until they banned it. We had alarge  fishing industry until we gave it to Europe in return for membership of the EEC. We did improve our agricultural methods with value-added industries based on the produce but when IT and Pharma showed up, that’s when we really learned a thing or two. 

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