Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Sampler Platter

1. The Wall Street Journal (subs. req'd) maintains the momentum on a story that they began: quantifying the enormous tax advantages that accrue to US multinationals who locate their profits in the Republic of Ireland. They note a Sunday Business Post story:

A tiny subsidiary of Microsoft Corp. is the most profitable company in Ireland, and five of the country's 10 biggest profit makers are units of U.S. multinationals, according to a study ... Round Island One reported €3.23 billion ($3.88 billion) in fiscal 2004 pretax profit. The largest domestic company on the list was Allied Irish Banks PLC, ranked No. 3 with pretax profit of €1.41 billion in calendar 2004, the study said ... The list is a ranking based on the most recent filings by hundreds of Irish companies...

A unit of Boston Scientific Inc. that earned €475 million reported having only one employee. Seventh-ranked CRH PLC, by contrast, an Irish building-materials company, said it had 60,411 employees.

Given the well-established practice of pay-for-play opinion columns by right-wing hacks, we suggest that the Dublin Institute for Culture and Knowledge offer an analysis of the enormous productivity that can achieved through low taxes: €475 million/1 employee!

2. Fintan O'Toole in Tuesday's Irish Times (subs. req'd) does a compare and compare:

June 2003 letter from the general manager of Carlton Screen Advertising, the largest agency for alcohol ads in Irish cinemas, to the then minister for health, Micheál Martin: "An impartial and independent consultant with 19 year's experience advises and oversees all decisions reached by the Cinema Advertising Association [CAA]"

December 2005 Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney announces new code for cinema adverts for booze: "An impartial and independent consultant with 19 year's experience advises and oversees all decisions reached by the [CAA]"

As Fintan notes, in writing the policy document as a cut-and-paste from a two year old lobbyist letter, they forgot both to correct the stray apostrophe and update to the fact that the consultant should now have 21 years experience.

3. Also from Tuesday's Irish Times, Anthony McIntyre speculates that the top echelon of Sinn Féin is riddled with British spies, so:

A particular irony in all of this for the voter in the Republic is that after decades of being free from British involvement in their part of the island, the dilemma they face is that by voting Sinn Féin they increase the likelihood of returning MI5 to the Dáil.

Could it be that the United Kingdom is the political equivalent of the Hotel California?

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