[Sinn Fein]

24th February 2002

Harney EU tax comments at odds with her position on the Nice Treaty

Sinn Fein President Gerry Adams MP has said that the Tanaiste Mary Harney's remarks that there are no circumstances in which Ireland will cede our fiscal autonomy to EU institutions are to be welcomed. But as one of the leading advocates of the Nice Treaty Mary Harney is in favour of giving up the power of veto, which is the very mechanism that we would employ to prevent such a situation arising. Mr Adams said:

``Mary Harney is one of the leading advocates of the Nice Treaty and among its central ideas is the erosion of the right to veto for this state. And while she rightly points out the danger to Ireland's economy of EU tax harmonisation she supports getting rid of the very mechanism that can prevent this from occurring.

``Sinn Fein believes that there is a need for a progressive tax system across the EU but we in Ireland need to get away from the mindset that simply having the lowest rate of corporation tax is an economic cure-all. There is no doubt that it has been an attractive feature in bringing transnational companies to site in Ireland. But a creative corporate tax regime has an important role to play in funding and encouraging research and development by Irish businesses. Yes we need to protect our right to set taxes. We need also to think about why that right is being dissipated and most importantly we need to think creatively about how to use tax incentives to develop business, safeguard existing jobs and create new ones.''

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