Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

'No tensions' over corporation tax

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson has praised the Republic's approach to tackling the economic crisis
Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson has praised the Republic's approach to tackling the economic crisis

First Minister Peter Robinson has claimed he is confident a reduction in corporation tax in Northern Ireland will not create cross-border tensions.

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader said the Irish Government has been supportive of the Stormont Executive's push to cut the business levy from 26% to 10%, lower than the 12.5% in the Republic.

Speaking in Dublin, he said: "The Government here has been fairly supportive of us having the power of setting corporation tax in Northern Ireland and the level decided by the Northern Ireland Executive."

Mr Robinson addressed the Chartered Accountants Leinster Society luncheon in Dublin, were he praised the Republic's approach to tackling the economic crisis.

He explained that strengthening north-south relations was important as it would benefit both economies.

In his address, he said: "The economic difficulties which you have been experiencing in the Republic of Ireland have also impacted the Northern Ireland economy.

"The Republic is one of our key markets for exports and tourism, and it is in our interests, as neighbours and trading partners, to strengthen those economies, recognising what works and taking a pragmatic approach to guide us through these difficult economic times."

Mr Robinson praised the Irish Government for avoiding short term simplistic solutions in its recovery, adding: "They are no substitute for the difficult, long term measures that are being taken."

Meanwhile, he confessed he was looking forward to Martin McGuinness returning to Stormont following his Irish presidential campaign and added that while he did not wish to comment on his colleague's place in the election and the impact it is likely to have on his Stormont role, he said it was still important for the Republic and Northern Ireland to maintain close ties.

Mr McGuinness finished behind Irish president-elect Michael D Higgins and runner-up Sean Gallagher.

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