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Border and taxes both worrying the Republic


The focus of concern by the media on a "hard border" across Ireland (should Brexit take place) overlooks the Republic's two real concerns: firstly, the possibility of an EU "hard border" running down through what to date has been the shared Irish Sea.

By returning the ball to Dublin's court to work it out with London, prior to the European Commission's further involvement, the EU is recognising the inter-relatedness of the several lands of the Britannic archipelago, but may also be nudging towards something more.

And that more is the other concern Dublin has: a drastic change to the tax regulations on profits that at present operate within the single market; regulations that allow for profits to be transferred from the market in which they are made to anywhere else in the single market registered for the purpose of taxation; the free movement of profits, like the free movement of people.

But profits are now being transferred from a debt-ridden Greece increasingly to Bulgaria for taxation, where profit tax is much lower, with Greece, so badly in need of money, the loser.

The EU now knows what the Apple case and the Republic highlighted; that it is necessary to change the present tax regulations - a change to which Dublin is strongly opposed (profiting from things as they are).

If there is to be a Brexit, the EU Commission might also have in mind another exit, or a way of frightening Dublin. The Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, it seems, does not intend to bite on the bait.

But how long can the fence-sitting continue?

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