San Diego International Law Journal


Ronan Nelson

Library of Congress Authority File


Document Type



This Comment starts by providing a historical overview of Irish corporate tax policy and the significant role it played in bringing the country up to economic strength with other economies in Western Europe. Then, it explains the current state of Ireland’s corporate tax code and explores influential legislation in the European Union and the United States governing their respective approaches to tax competition and tax harmonization. This is done to more clearly juxtapose the Irish government’s outdated, yet continuing maintenance of the country’s tax haven status with changes in international tax enforcement and corporate tax policy that further diminish the financial and political returns of maintaining an overtly low corporate tax rate.

Lastly, this Comment suggests remedies for the inadequacies of the current tax system to create financial returns that are at least more proportionate to the current amount of aid given to corporate investors and quell rising negative sentiment from the European Commission. Ireland should take steps towards corporate tax reform by either (a) closing profit-shifting loopholes and applying a uniform effective tax rate, or (b) working with the European Union to achieve effective and minimally damaging tax harmonization that would not dissuade major companies from foregoing the Irish business development market.

This Comment is not written as a call to action for the Republic of Ireland to reassert the protectionist measures implemented by Éamon de Valera in the 1950s. Nor is it a call for the destruction of the vast and sometimes beneficial bilateral tax treaty network Ireland has cultivated. Proposals here-in, while critical of Fianna Fáil’s and Fine Gael’s 40-year adherence to the status quo, are not partisan motivated. Rather, they are intended to show Ireland has an opportunity to make a significant and historic step forward in its independence and growth as a relatively young nation. The time for adherence to a stagnant state of economic affairs is over; the potential for equitable Irish economic growth is palpable.