Shane Ross

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Are we Running Riot with EU Rules?

Posted on: March 3rd, 2005

This week funding for the expansion of Intel’s Leixlip plant was withdrawn by the government after the EU expressed its opposition to the plans. I argue that we need to discuss the intervention of the EU in Ireland’s international competitions for investment.

We may generally be running riot with EU rules and I am not sure whether that is good or bad. Intel is not the only case of this kind which has given rise to concern at the Commission in the past week. It is about to intervene to say that RTE is abusing its position with its use of the licence fee in a non-competitive way. The Commission is concerned with the public sector as well as the private sector.

We should have a serious debate on this issue and the Government’s attitude to it, by inviting the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment to the House. It is stunning to see that the Government appears surprised at the EU Commission’s decision. It withdrew quickly in the face of this opposition which could have serious long-term consequences for inward investment. We might need to reconsider our economic direction. It would be useful to have a serious debate on this before the end of next week.