Belfast Telegraph

Ireland is putting its best Facebook forward in hunt for multi-nationals

As the Irish settled down yesterday to hear their fate in the country's toughest ever budget, there was one spot of good news for the beleaguered economy. Facebook, which like a number of other American technology companies has its European headquarters in Dublin, is to recruit more staff in Ireland.

Interestingly, Facebook downplays the importance of Ireland's 12.5% corporation tax rate, which is deeply unpopular with many other European countries. Equally important, if not more so, says Facebook, is the fact that Ireland's government is much more business-friendly than many others. In particular, it singles out the issue of immigration - Facebook says that where other countries are cracking down on non-European Union inflows, Ireland is being more flexible.

Now, we should take some of this with a pinch of salt. Companies are sensitive too to the charge that they shop around for the lowest tax rates. But the message does ring true: in seeking to attract inward investment, Ireland has done more than simply cut its corporation tax rate. It has also bent over backwards to frame policy around the needs of investors - a lesson Britain is still learning.

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