We need to address the erosion of our competitiveness in this country. We cannot sit back and see these job losses occur throughout the economy and suggest that they are localised. It has developed into a trend. There have been losses at Pfizer, Thomson Scientific and Procter & Gamble and many others in recent weeks.
Some say that there are different types of job substituting for it and that these types of high-level jobs are going to go. The reality is that a serious problem exists, part of which is the fact that there is cheaper labour in eastern Europe. The Irish economy and the Government must respond to that threat if the days of the Celtic tiger are to survive.
We need to address this big picture. Part of this picture is the 12.5% rate of corporation tax.
This rate is under threat. Undoubtedly, there are moves between France and Germany to undermine the Irish position on this matter. The fact that we have a veto here does not necessarily guarantee that it will survive for long. There are ways of circumventing a veto in European terms. They hit one somewhere else, which makes one’s situation almost untenable.
It is very important that we do not ally ourselves with the position of some people in Ireland, including the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, who say that rate should be 20%. We should openly compete with eastern European countries by considering lowering, rather than raising, the rate and should not necessarily stick to the rate of 12.5%.