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Tax Partner, Catherine O’Meara speaks at American Chamber of Commerce US Ireland Business Conference

AUTHOR(S): Catherine O’Meara
PRACTICE AREA GROUP: Tax
DATE: 07.03.2019

Pictured (l-r): Mark Redmond, American Chamber of Commerce Ireland; An Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar; Mark Gantly, American Chamber of Commerce Ireland; and Catherine O'Meara, Matheson.

Speaking at the American Chamber of Commerce US Ireland Business Conference in Croke Park, Catherine O’Meara, Tax partner with Matheson commented;

“With continuing global uncertainty for business, on both sides of the Atlantic, Ireland stands as an oasis of relative stability and certainty, with a strong and growing economy that offers a dependable business environment.”

“While we have not yet seen clarity on precisely what the UK wants in its future relationship with the EU, there has been absolute clarity and consistency in Ireland’s position. In fact, it’s worth recalling that the very first statement by the Irish Government on the night of the Brexit referendum – long before the issues that have beset the process had emerged – was to categorically reaffirm Ireland’s commitment to its membership of the European Union.”

“Since then, Ireland has worked as part of the EU27 in pursuit of a Brexit that both maintains a close trading relationship with the UK, and protects the Northern Ireland peace process. Despite the current challenges, both of these objectives remain achievable.”

“While Brexit is an unwelcome reality, it has brought some unforeseen positive impacts. Firstly, it has clearly reinforced public support for EU membership in Ireland with recent surveys finding that it now stands 85%. Secondly, the unity and cohesion of the EU27 has been steadfast, as evidenced by the strong support for Ireland throughout the process.”

“One of the less positive consequences has been the time, energy and resources that have had to be devoted to Brexit process, at both EU and national level. While it is obviously prudent to prepare for all eventualities, it has been a distraction from EU reforms, the economy in general and from domestic priorities. For example, in Ireland, considerable resources have had to be allocated to a range of preparations, including supporting exporters and recruiting Customs and Revenue staff. The parliamentary and legislative agenda this month is necessarily dominated by the Omnibus Brexit Bill.” 

“Beyond Brexit, Ireland needs to maintain its positive role in the ongoing international agenda of reforming the global tax system. Ireland has and should continue to reaffirm its commitment to Ireland’s corporate tax rate and regime, which has provided certainty for investors in Ireland.  Ireland also needs to continue its proactive engagement with EU and OECD consultation processes, particularly regarding the new digital tax proposal, to ensure that the voice of smaller countries is heard.”

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