Redit And Development Financing For Low-Income And Minority Communities Ireland’s Last Call

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Ireland’s Last Call

Ireland is caught between a rock and a hard place – no doubt.

Since 1996 it has benefited from an unprecedented gift – by Irish standards – of economic growth fueled by many external factors. This included the ever-liberal European Economic Community (EEC) which – literally – paved the way for Ireland’s economic boom. In addition, the United States aggressively supported investment in Ireland, North and South, following through on its pledges following the ratification of the Good Friday Agreement. American firms received a 12.5% ​​corporate tax rate and start-up incentives offered by the Irish government through their investment-seeking body, the Industrial Development Authority. As a result, Ireland has not so much grown as caught up with the rest of the Western world.

The country is still a large recipient of the EEC and a very active part of the Union. Which is a good thing, because after Iceland in its monetary umbilical euro currency, it is the only thing keeping Ireland from falling into the fiscal abyss of national bankruptcy.

Ireland’s favorable corporate tax rate has been a reliable source of national income from resident US corporations, which US tax laws allow them to take advantage of. That loophole in US tax law threatens to close soon. This will result in the loss of substantial investment and support services – private and public.

As a business center – apart from tax incentives – Ireland has many disadvantages.

It is geographically isolated, as it is two seas away from mainland Europe. Its workforce, while English-speaking and educated, has become expensive and has developed a sense of unfair entitlement in today’s economic climate. For example, foreign firms wishing to leave Ireland are obliged to offer generous redundancy incentives to workers; Incentives unheard of in the United States.

Property costs in Ireland, currently on a steep downward slope, are still expensive depending on what and where you are buying. Cost of living is high as are personal and sales (value added) taxes. Evidence of mutual and unethical financial back-scratching between politicians and businessmen in this small country has come to light recently. The weather is unpredictable and it is dark for at least three months of the year. Irish ethnic alcoholism, while generally accepted in Ireland, is an unheralded boardroom concern for many foreign manufacturing organizations when choosing a location for a new plant. Finally, Ireland’s physical infrastructure is not developed to its full potential to facilitate timely and cost-effective transport from Dublin to areas far away.

Ireland backed itself into this corner in the late 1960s and 1970s as it made plans for economic growth. Diplomatic intellectuals were determined (and then) that Ireland would become an industrial base, emulating other European partners. Unfortunately national realities did not match this grand ambition as Ireland was not prepared for it, being a largely dairy-centred agrarian society and lacking any sort of developed commercial infrastructure. The Industrial Revolution had bypassed Ireland entirely and sustainable domestic industries were few and far between.

Back to the present day, a review of current events in Ireland – the alleged unscrupulous looting of banks’ assets by their directors and shareholders, over-extension of credit, commercial and political cronyism, misappropriation of public funds and what is believed to be the government. It demonstrated loud and clear that Ireland was not ready to play in the big business leagues. It may have been too much too soon.

To the dismay of the Irish public, the culprits – known locally as the ‘Golden Circle’ – continue to go unpunished; The suspects apparently continue their lifestyles, seemingly unconcerned about any consequences of their actions. This in itself speaks volumes about the inherent narcissism at play. Indeed there have been calls (by this publication) for European Union intervention – by their fraud unit – to ensure an impartial investigation into alleged financial and policy misdeeds by a combination of decisive business and political leaders.

So much for bad news; What does the future hold for Ireland?

Due to their ambitions, when they are looking for opportunities again, large exodus has started. Ireland’s past hopes of obtaining visa preferences in the US will meet with limited success. In their brief heyday, in full expectation of continued growth, the Irish arrogantly—some would say selfishly—closed the door to immigrants seeking residence and citizenship in Ireland. This includes removing automatic citizenship rights for children born in Ireland to foreign parents. It is a privilege that the Irish in the United States and elsewhere have enjoyed and relied on for centuries.

Ireland, apart from discovering a Saudi-sized oil field or a large diamond mine, has a future in its only natural resource – tourism. The country has enjoyed a steady flow of tourist income for decades. It is a national resource that begs to be developed and promises countless opportunities if properly managed. The key is to wholeheartedly embrace the industry and the idea that Ireland deserves better than tourism as an economic mainstay for leisure.

To see the benefits, take Florida as an example. Despite its relatively large, diverse population of 18 million and difficult geography, the state’s main source of revenue is sales tax, driven by tourist dollars. Florida residents do not pay state income tax. True, it is sunny all year round. True, there are miles and miles of sandy beaches, Disney and the Everglades. Its sources of income are sun-seeking tourists, families and conference vacationers.

Ireland’s unique location has great potential for tourism development. A country steeped in history screams culture and it is impossible to stonewall anything of historical importance. A source of tourists? The U.S. alone has 40 million citizens who claim Irish ancestry, many of whom want nothing more than to visit the land of their ancestors affordably. If Ireland adopts a strategy to attract repeat tourism (abandoning old habits of ripping off visitors), there will be a spigot of prosperity for this unique country. It’s not necessary that Irish citizens wear period or leprechaun costumes (although it can help), the Irish are one of the world’s best sources of entertainment, intellectual conversation and hospitality; Invaluable accoutrements in a good market tourism economy.

This time it is most important to remember not to kill the goose that lays the golden egg.

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