Father Ted’s tax haven

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The Irish have a Tax Commission in progress at present. It's latest mad idea in a country that already seems to believe that tax abuse is source of social benefit is to declare the Gaelic speaking Western Isles as tax havens. As the Irish Independent puts it:

All the Irish islands could become tax havens - modelled loosely on the tax-free principality of Andorra.

The regional authority responsible for the economic, social and cultural development of the Gaeltacht has proposed a radical plan to the Commission on Taxation recommending a special taxation incentive scheme for islands.

Making the islands tax-free would promote economic activity on them and attract people to live there. The last three censuses taken in Ireland have each shown a decline in population.

One part of the proposal is a pilot scheme that people living on these islands for at least six months of the year would be able to earn €100,000 a year tax free for 10 years - even if they earn their money on the mainland.

The exemption would apply to both new and existing businesses on the islands.

The idea is so ironic it is almost amusing. Maybe Father Ted thought it up. Certainly the economics have that sort of logic within them. It might also teach the Irish a lesson in what it is like to have your taxation revenues artificially stolen by a microstate.

No doubt someone soon will be proposing similar ideas for the Isle of White, all the Scottish islands and maybe even my former home, the Isle of Ely.

Or perhaps, with a bit of luck, people might realise that this idea for promoting small island economies was bankrupt when it was created in the 1960s by the UK and has since proved to be a disaster for the native people of all the islands that have been subjected to the process and for the world at large.

Disclosure: I hold an Irish passport and my parents in law hail from the Gaeltacht and had Gaelic as their first language.