Tag Archives: Ireland


Consternation has broken out in the Irish literary community with news breaking last night of Dublin independent publishing house Liberties Press instituting a €100 reading fee for authors’ manuscripts.

Liberties boss Seán O’Keeffe plays it off as covering costs and maintaining standards in this piece in the Irish Times.

“They are, of course, free not to send material our way. However, we have a hard-earned reputation as an innovative and successful publisher, and we believe that in a few years, this will be standard practice among publishers.

We receive hundreds of unsolicited submissions every year, and if this policy results in the number declining, that will be no bad thing.

We hope it will encourage authors to think carefully before submitting material to us, and to value the work we do.”

Irish lit Twitter is, of course, apoplectic. Writer and founder of Gorse.ie, Susan Tomaselli has been vocal since the story broke last night.

Writer Thomas Morris, currently of Faber Books, has his carefully-measured thoughts on the matter:


Publisher takes Liberties (Irish Times)


This morning.

At the European Parliament.

A direct appeal to the President of Ireland Micheal D Higgins from German satirist MEP Martin Sonneborn, of parody party Die PARTEI (“Party for Labour, Rule of Law, Animal Protection, Promotion of Elites and Grassroot-Democratic Initiative”) – in relation to the Apple tax ruling.

From around 45 seconds, Mr Sonneborn said [in English]:

‘Dear Mr President of Ireland. If you still believe that Apple will create some jobs in Ireland, forget it. Apple only ever had one Jobs. But he is dead. He will not come back. So, please take my advice: take the money and run. 13 billion euro will buy you many, many iPhones. This will generate more tax income for Ireland. Then you can buy even more iPhones. It’s a win, win, win situation. Think it over with a good bottle of whiskey, sláinte.’ “

In addition, Mr Sonneborn said [translated from German]:

“The EU has changed. When I took up this job I wanted to fight for a core strong Europe. And we now find the numbers committed to that have gone down after Brexit and the current situation in Hungary, we now see other people being shown the door. A government which actually refuses to take the taxes from the Apple firm, for example, could actually give the impression that what we’re really talking about is a Europe of business and not of citizens.”

Thanks Simon M


Painted Clans writes:

You have grown up in Ireland all your life. You have wore your county crest with pride. You have navigated this small island with the help of old road signs but have you ever wondered what the Irish language of the county names actually mean?

Ireland’s long rich history of ancient kingdoms, which were imported by Viking and Norman invaders has had a profound effect on the country’s place names. We’ve put together a list of english translations of Irish county names.

Antrim / Aontroim
Ulster – Established c. 1400, the name translates to “lone ridge” or “lone dwelling.”

Armagh / Ard Mhacha
Ulster – Established c. 1584, the name means “Macha’s height.” Macha was a Celtic goddess said to have given birth to twins after racing a horse.

Carlow / Ceatharlach
Leinster — Established c. 1306, the name translates to “place of cattle.”

Cavan / An Cabhán
Ulster – Established in 1584, the name translates to “the hollow.”

Clare / An Clár
Munster – Established in 1565, the name translates to “plain.” The county may have been named after the Norman de Clare family. Before 1565, Clare was known as Thomond, which means “North Munster.”

Cork / Corcaigh
Munster – Established c. 1200, the name means “swamp” or “marsh.” (But don’t tell anyone from Corcaigh.)

Derry / Doire
Ulster – Established in 1585, the name “Doire” means “oak wood.”

Donegal / Dún na nGall
Ulster – Established in 1584, it means “stronghold of the foreigners” (Vikings). It was also known by some as Tir Chonaill, which means “the land of Conall.”

Down / An Dún
Ulster – Established c. 1520, the name means “the fort.”

Dublin / Áth Cliath / Dubhlinn
Leinster — Established in 1185, the “Áth Cliath” part means “hurdled fort” and the “Dubhlinn” part means black pool.”

What do Ireland’s county names mean? (Painted Clans)

Thanks Brendan McCarey


Irish wrestler Becky Lynch

More scenes of Irish success from the world of sports-entertainment last night.

Dubliner Rebecca Quin, formerly of independent promotions NWA Ireland, One Pro Wrestling, Queens of Chaos and more, was of one European wrestling’s brightest prospects before a head injury sustained during a match in Germany necessitated a long hiatus, including missing major independent shows in the US.

Returning to the States in 2011, as an on-screen manager for Shimmer Women’s Wrestling, Quin signed with industry leaders WWE in 2013, becoming Becky Lynch in the process.

After a questionably Oirish on-screen debut for their NXT brand, Lynch settled into the brand’s nascent women’s division, becoming one of its mainstays and embracing her own sci-fi/fantasy fandom in the process.

Heading to the WWE’s main roster in 2015, Lynch has been a massive part of the company’s Ronda Rousey-inspired push for women’s pro wrestling and, in the wake of WWE’s on-screen roster split, has settled into the top women’s role on the SmackDown brand.

Last night, at WWE’s Backlash event in Richmond, Virginia, Lynch won a six-woman elimination-rules match to become the SmackDown roster’s inaugural women’s kingpin.

Chants of “you deserve it!” greeted Lynch’s in-ring celebrations from the thousands in attendance.

Meanwhile, later that evening…



Becky Lynch

Previously: Irish Wrestling on Broadsheet

Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 13.30.40

DAVOS-KLOSTERS/SWITZERLAND, 31JAN09 - Joseph E. Stiglitz, Professor, Columbia University, USA, at the Annual Meeting 2009 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 31, 2009. Copyright by World Economic Forum swiss-image.ch

From top: Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton and economist Joseph Stiglitz

This morning.

On the Today with Seán O’Rourke show.

Fine Gael Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton, Anti-Austerity Alliance TD Paul Murphy; former IMF director Donal Donovan, and Irish Independent editor Fionnan Sheahan were on the panel to talk about the Apple tax ruling.

Later in the show, Nobel prize winning economist Prof Joseph Stiglitz spoke to Mr O’Rourke.

Grab a tay.

Richard Bruton: “The principle, that the Irish Revenue authorities ruled on in 1991 and in 2007 was a standard approach. The principle that they enunciated was that a company, based in Ireland, should pay tax on its Irish activities and that was the ruling that was applied but what the EU is trying to now used state aid rules to do is to say that Ireland should become the international policeman for dealing with worldwide problems where companies are seen to play one tax code off against another. Very specifically, in relation to the US situation as you know, they offer a deferral tax system where the liability for tax in the US, which is obviously legitimate ultimately by companies like Apple, where all their research and development goes on – they allow a deferral so that tax is not brought back to the US authorities. But the EU itself has recognised that this €13billion is not available to Ireland because the US, it recognises that the US has a legitimate interest in getting access to this tax revenue and, indeed, their deferral rules would see that revenue taxable in the US and Apple have said that so Donal [O’Donovan] is simply wrong. The [EU] Commission isn’t authoritative on this issue, they are seeking to break entirely new ground…”

Sean O’Rourke: “Well no, what they’re doing is using the rules on the single market which prohibit member states from tailoring special inducements to incur rich companies to locate operations on their soil and the very fact that we allowed Apple, and we connived with Apple nationally, not necessarily breaking any of our own rules, but we allowed them to use Ireland as the basis for this, effectively, non-existent headquarters – no employees, no activity, to put money offshore and to avoid paying tax. It stinks to high heaven and we’ve been caught out on it and maybe we should just accept that fact.”

Bruton: “No you’re wrong, Seán. Ireland has a substantial substance from companies like Apple, 350, 000 over all. In the case of Apple, it’s 6,000 employees and they have paid tax on their earnings in Ireland.”

O’Rourke: “But why do we allow, why do we allow the to pay virtually no tax on their worldwide earnings or 90% of them…”

Bruton: “We apply…”

O’Rourke: “Why do we facilitate that?”

Bruton: “Don’t talk me down when I’m trying to answer….”


Bruton: “The EU wants to make Ireland some sort of international tax policeman which would be entirely negative to our interests and so many countries invested here.”

Paul Murphy: “…This argument by Fianna Fáil and the Government is utterly disingenuous and dishonest. The idea is that somehow Ireland stumbled into this situation of being a tax haven and different companies are managed together in the different loopholes of different countries and they all just happened to set up in Ireland. It was designed to do that. That’s the point of the tax ruling in 1991. So it isn’t about the [EU] Commission now asking Ireland to be a tax policeman in retrospect, because in 1991 and 2007, a ruling was designed to say to Apple: we don’t mind if you come here and you set up Apple Sales International and Apple Operations Europe. And you have head offices that have nobody working for them whatsoever and you funnel through $22billion of profits a year, in the case of Apple Sales International and, don’t worry, we won’t charge you tax on it. So we didn’t stumble into this situation, it was a designed thing and now the Government is trying to like make things not clear because the Government has a real problem on it.”

O’Rourke: “Donal, you don’t often agree or nod when Paul Murphy is speaking but you’re nodding vigorously there.”

Donal Donovan: “Well, you know, you’re right, I don’t often agree with Joseph Stiglitz either but actually I do think there’s a great deal of truth in what Paul says. This is something that has not happened by accident. This is a long-plan strategy and we did remove parts of this last year, and the year before but we did so at the point of a gun. I mean Minister [for Finance] Noonan was quite right when he removed the ‘double Irish’ and his [inaudible] residency but he waited until he had absolutely overwhelming pressure arising for the US and elsewhere and public opinion. And I think we’ve been on the back foot of this, Sean. We have reacted when we’ve been pushed into reacting, there’s no doubt about it that we have not been proactive in earlier years in trying to change the situation. And really, it’s a much bigger issue than the technical question of the legal matters who approved what in 1991. Really this has become a political and moral issue. We’ve seen ever since the US Congress held hearings, we’ve seen it with Panama Papers, Lux Leaks, everything, our 26% [rise in GDP] figure is related to this. All of this, the world is changing and, again, I wouldn’t always agree with Fintan O’Toole on many things but, this morning, he said we have to be on the right side of history and we should get on the right side of history.”

O’Rourke: “So, Richard Bruton… if the situation is changing, and you’ve highlighted yourself how the Government had introduced measures last year, if the situation is changing, why don’t we sort of shrug our shoulders and say to Apple, ‘look, sorry guys, the world is moving along, you’ve got a massive cash pile, something in the order of, is $230billion, we have to take a sizeable slice out of it’, the rules have changed and maybe we’re not going to lose a load of jobs if we do that.”

Donovan: “Well I think that’s right because the arrangements that gave rise to this, you’re absolutely right, have been changed already so it’s not that we’re relying on this to continue in the future… we should do the right thing and make up for it.”

O’Rourke: “Could we not take that approach, Richard Bruton?”

Bruton: “No, because we have established in the OECD a process whereby these sort of reforms will be done on a collective basis, with countries acting together and that is the approach that has already brought the sort of changes we’re talking about where, the way in which companies can aggressively play one tax off, one country off another is being wound back. There is numerous examples of where that occurs in the treatment of interest, the treatment of capital, the treatment of company resident, the treatment of intellectual property, the treatment of deferral of tax and so on and what we have to do is collectively sit down and work out agreements that will be applied universally. What the EU wants to do is to make Ireland the international policeman – to go out and say to the US, ‘you should not be applying deferral system’, ‘you should be collecting money from Apple straight away’ so Ireland should go and collect that money….Let’s not forget that if the word of the Irish authorities, independent Revenue Commissioners, independent of Government, if that cannot be relied upon, on companies who have invested and employed 350,000 people in Ireland, up and down the country…”

O’Rourke: “But we gave our word and then showed we were up to no good. We were conniving with these guys to avoid paying tax…”

Bruton: “That is precisely what we will be fighting to appeal against. There is no, it is not the case that we were conniving with anyone. We made legitimate rulings with the Revenue Commissioners made independently and they offered their opinion and companies have made their decision…”

O’Rourke: “But to quote [European Competition] Commissioner Margrethe Vestager yesterday, if my tax bill was 0.05%, falling to 0.005%, I would think I would need to have a second look.”

Bruton: “But those are bogus numbers because what that ruling is saying is that the activities of Apple in the US, where they do all their research and development, their manufacturing in China, should be taxed, that tax should be collected in Ireland. There is no basis for that, the US authorities will collect tax from Apple on the so-called deferral system that they have and, as you know, this is hotly debated in the US, how they should reform that and whether they should have instruments to bring that money…”


Donovan: “I just want to say…if the Minister Bruton could say: when these rulings were issued in 1991 and 2007, and I accept that they were rulings by the Revenue, did the Revenue check with Brussels at the time, as to whether these rulings were, or would be considered consistent with state aid rules? Because if we went ahead and did them, and issued them without getting the OK from Brussels, then we can’t really complain if, later, Brussels, says: ‘well, no I’m sorry you did these rulings but they were illegal.

O’Rourke: “Minister?”

Bruton: “These are rulings on tax matters and the Irish authorities took a view that is absolutely common across tax world that you are taxed in the jurisdiction on the activities in your jurisdiction. The issue then around tax structures that companies have – that involves much more elaborate collaboration across the system and we’ve sent up vents to precisely address that, this process at the OECD…”

Talk over each other

Murphy: “Minister, you know you’re being dishonest there, you do. You know that the thing was set up to facilitate it, that’s the point of the tax rulings and I think the Government’s spin around this is designed to make it seem all so very complicated right.”

Bruton: “That is not the case.”

Murphy: “And the reality is extremely clear: one of the biggest, multinational corporations in the world didn’t pay tax to the tune of €13billion-plus. It’ll get close to €19billion when you add on interest to Ireland and we are owed that tax. Now, Government would like to make it seem. Yesterday they said, first of all, well, at least the Commission has given us a clean bill of health in terms of Google and Facebook, the Commission had to come out and say, ‘no, we haven’t, we haven’t looked at them’. Then, the Government said, ‘but sure even if we got the money, we could only spend it on paying down the debt’, the Commission came out and said, ‘no, that’s not the case, you can spend it on capital expenditure. And the Government has a major political problem – this is their bank guarantee moment..”

O’Rourke: “And this is my cue to bring in [Irish Independent editor] Fionnan Sheahan. Just speaking of the Government’s political problem. Do you think they’re going to give us a decision today based on Michael Noonan’s recommendation – an immediate decision to appeal?”

Fionnan Sheahan: “No. I think, as Donal has said, they will take time to assess the ruling. You said at the start, the Government’s decision was to appeal – that was half the government the other half was saying something very different. And if you look at the government’s handling of this: the European Commission versus our Government has been a bit like {Danish TV series] Borgen versus Ballymagash [fictional rural town in RTÉ’s Hall’s Pictorial Weekly]. We have Margrethe Vestager basically cleaning us out for an hour yesterday on the steps of the European Commission building, quite authoritatively setting out her case on the basis of the European Commission’s ruling and then we have Michael Noonan basically floundering around, talking about all folksy tales about seed potatoes and so on and so forth. Well, to give you an old folksy analogy to match that: she ate him without salt. And I think there are major questions about Michael Noonan’s handling of this entire affair over recent months.”

Meanwhile, later in the show, Nobel prize winning economist Prof Joseph Stiglitz also spoke to Mr O’Rourke, saying:

“I think they’re [the Irish Government] wrong [to appeal]. I think, it was an interesting discussion [above]. I thought, to put it frankly, what the minister was saying is all utter balderdash. The fact is that you were encouraging tax avoidance, you knew it, let’s not make any pretence about it. You got  a few jobs at the cost of stealing revenues away from countries around the world and that’s the kind of activity that has to be stopped.

Listen back in full here


Screen Shot 2016-08-31 at 13.20.35

Last night.

On RTÉ’s Six One.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan spoke to Brian Dobson about the ruling.

During their discussion, Mr Noonan said:

This isn’t a moral issue. This is a financial and a taxation issue.”

There you go.

Watch back in full here


Michelle Marie


A black British woman who was chosen to tweet from the @ireland account for a week has been subjected to a barrage of racist abuse, forcing her to take a break from Twitter.

Michelle Marie took over the account – which is curated by a different Twitter user in Ireland each week – on Monday. She introduced herself as a mother, blogger and plus-size model.

Originally from Oxford in England, she wrote she had settled in Ireland and “it has my heart”.

However, just hours after taking over the profile – which is followed by nearly 40,000 people – the abuse began.

Black woman inundated with racist abuse while tweeting for @Ireland (The Guardian)


Sunday’s Sunday Business Post

In the Sunday Business Post, at the weekend, Elaine Byrne wrote about how, at 3am one morning, two men chased her in an attempt to attack her.

Recalling the event, Ms Byrne wrote:

The gardaí came. They said I shouldn’t be out so late and dropped me home.

I never really told anyone about this incident. The narrative would have been predictable. Were you drinking? “No.” Well, you should have known better anyway. You shouldn’t have been out so late. What were you wearing? Somehow, it would have become my fault. I was wrong. What did I expect at that hour of the night? There was no Garda report, no incident recorded for the statistics. Nothing.

Ms Byrne added:

I sat through my friend’s rape trial. I watched her on the stand being cross-examined by a barrister and heard him say the most disgusting line I have ever heard in the English language.

Your injuries are consistent with the straddling of a gate. Did you straddle a gate?

Because that’s what women do for fun. We straddle gates.

Why do we ignore Ireland’s rape problem? (Elaine Byrne, Sunday Business Post)