Tag Archives: Brian Hayes

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Brian Hayes, Fine Gael MEP

Farrel Corcoran’s article contains arguments concerning the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks and coverage of TTIP that simply do not stand up to scrutiny.

Mr Corcoran argues that the proposed deal would allow the use of “carcinogenic pesticides” in foods. Let me be clear, nothing could be further from the truth. But that doesn’t stop protectionists deliberately misleading the public.

Again and again, European Commissioner Cecilia Malmström has said no EU trade agreement will ever lower our level of protection of consumers or food safety.

Both sides in the trade talks are crystal clear that importation of hormone treated meat will not happen. Yet those against trade have repeated something that they know was never on the agenda of the EU.

The precautionary principal, the EU’s guiding principal on food and safety standards remains unaltered.

When it comes to Ireland’s sovereignty the position couldn’t be clearer. The first item agreed in a joint declaration by the lead negotiators was that TTIP does not prevent governments, at any level, from providing or supporting services in areas such as water, education, health, and social services.

This has not stopped those against the talks framing the process as a kind of new conspiracy where the corporate world, aided and abated by the European Commission, has hatched a masterplan to impoverish us all by – wait for it – by increasing trade between the EU and the US.

He bemoans the fact, according to him, that there has been “little” media coverage. Come on, where has Mr Corcoran been for the past number of years?

Didn’t The Irish Times give him carte blanche in his article to peddle the usual distortions about TTIP. What’s he moaning about? You could nearly hear the tut-tutting from the opinion page.

Then he says there has been little civil society engagement and “no national debate” on TTIP. Well a debate requires a fair amount of time to both sides to make the case.

But it also requires an honest engagement with the facts rather than hyped, over-the-top and utterly sensationalist comments from Mr Corcoran and others.

TTIP is not a done deal, it’s a talks process and it’s ongoing. And I wouldn’t be holding my breath that it will come to an end anytime soon.

It’s caught up with elections in the US and Europe.

From Donald Trump to Nigel Farage, and now to Mr Corchtoran [sic], the line-up of populists against more trade is really quite breathaking. And this against a backdrop of high European unemployment and falling wages.

The sensible thing to do is to see what comes from TTIP at the end of the negotiation. Look at the issue in the round – the pros and cons – and then make a decision. I repeat there is no agreement between both sides, and there may never be.

Brian Hayes MEP
Donnybrook,
Dublin 4.

Media, democracy and trade agreements (Irish Times letters page)

Previously: Luke’s TTIP

Leah Farrell/Rollingnews

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From top: Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes, Apple logo and Richard Murphy, of the City University London

Further to the Apple tax ruling

Richard Murphy, a tax expert based at the City University London, along with Fine Gael’s Brian Hayes spoke to Seán O’Rourke this morning.

Mr Murphy, from the outset, explained that he wasn’t in the least bit surprised by the European Commission’s ruling, as Ireland had let Apple have “unfair advantage” over its competitors and, therefore, under EU competition law, the ruling is logical.

He said the decision isn’t one about tax so much as it is about competition, adding:

“It is the right decision, yes it is because if we believe in fair markets, if we believe that that’s the way we should organise the world, then everybody has to compete on a level playing field. And, as any economist will tell you, we need transparency. Well, this was a secret deal, it was done without people knowing. The consequences were unclear for a long time and it did give Apple an unfair advantage over everyone else. It was bad for economics, it was bad for Ireland, let’s be clear here. It’s very obviously bad for Ireland now and it was bad for everybody else in the marketplace – for you and me as consumers.”

From the rest of the discussion:

Brian Hayes: “Well, this is a very serious decision, Sean. And I have no doubt that this will cause significant reputational damage to the country and that’s why I presume the Government will immediately have to appeal this decision. I think some of the logic that is behind this decision, I haven’t got the full document which is now being produced but some of the logic, in my view, is quite faulty.”

“The essential argument is that we’re being asked to collect tax that was generated from profits in other countries, ostensibly in the United States of America. Now there is absolutely no doubt that the change of tax structures brought about by [Finance Minister] Michael Noonan in terms of the ‘stateless’ branches of the companies that were there have come to an end, as a consequence of his decision. There’e been a fundamental change to the law in the last number of years and I think the argument that’s being made in the United States, and by the Irish Government is, and we are being asked to retrospectively apply a new tax code on a whole range of…”

Talk over each other

Seán O’Rourke: “But is it a new tax code, Brian Hayes? I mean if you don’t pay your taxes, or I don’t pay mine, I mean we’ll be very quick to tell us we have to pay retrospectively and with interest.”

Hayes: “You pay tax on what you generate in Ireland, Sean. You don’t pay tax for what you generate in the United States of America or elsewhere. And that’s the fundamental problem here. This is, in my initial reading of this, fundamentally altering the international standard about where you apply. You pay tax in Ireland on the value that you, on the profits that you create in Ireland. We cannot be responsible for taking the tax from other countries. And that’s why all of these issues can only be resolved at an OCED level.”

O’Rourke: “Right. Well, let’s ask Richard Murphy about that. Do you take that argument, Richard Murphy?”

Murphy: “No, I don’t buy that argument at all. There are a number of reasons why not. Firstly, this arrangement was designed to make sure that the tax was not paid in any other country, as well. So you can’t pretend that the tax should have been due in the UK and therefore Ireland shouldn’t be penalised because the arrangement made sure that no tax was paid in the UK. So you can’t use that argument. If you had been sure it was paid in the UK, you could use that argument. But you have not, you know it was not. And, secondly, the deal was designed to make sure the tax was actually paid nowhere. If it had been paid in full and properly in Ireland, I think there would have been some defence but, in practice, the structure was designed to make sure that, in effect, tax was not paid at all. And therefore, the ruling it is, well it must be due somewhere. And that must be Ireland. And, because it has not been taxed anywhere else, because that was what the ruling intended, Ireland should be responsible for collecting the tax…”

Later

Hayes: “And Seán, the only other argument the Irish government have always said and it has been mentioned by every other member state of the European Union, this is ostensibly a matter for the United States of America…In the case of Apple, this could be resolved entirely by the US Congress changing the way in which they allow repatriation and allow…”

Murphy: “No, Brian, that’s no reasonable…”

Talk over each other

Hayes: “In the Irish case, just let me have my point, in the Irish case, there was an issue around stateless companies – that was remedied and the argument that has been made since then is how can you retrospectively apply this bill over a period of time? You’d have no surprise in my view Sean, that most of the cases on this top-level are being taken against small members states of the European Union – Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg and Ireland. Countries that have, traditionally, certainly in the case of Ireland, have no industrial revolution, have since the 1960s got to open its doors towards inward investment and now we’re being asked, in terms of the entire corporate tax structure in Europe, to take these cases on. I have no doubt that the Government will want to appeal this decision. Firstly, to ensure, that the integrity of our revenue system for all to see. You cannot have a retrospective effect in corporate tax law and that has been applied. And the other argument I would make which I think is important from the Irish Revenue’s perspective is they are, we tax all monies generated in Ireland, profits generated in Ireland, where all of the changes that Michael Noonan has brought about: abolishing the double Irish, making sure that stateless companies registration was changed, changing the residency rules, that happened in the last number of years and that’s right that that should happen. We’re ahead of the OECD in this regard and it’s entirely right that those are in place now in Irish law.”

O’Rourke: “Richard?”

Murphy:I’m sorry, Brian, but I’m going to have to accuse you of using weasel words there. One of your key arguments was that this is a problem for the USA. What you were effectively saying, in your first intervention, was ‘Ireland couldn’t tax profits arising elsewhere’ and then you say, ‘the US should have profits, tax profits arising elsewhere’. You can’t have it both ways. This was not a US tax problem. It was a problem of tax not being paid in Europe and Ireland facilitating that by making sure that the tax was paid nowhere. There is no credibility in the Irish tax system. If you think there is, you are deceiving yourself. Around the world, people know…

Talk over each other

Hayes: “With respect…

Talk over each other

Murphy: “No, no, no, I’m allowed to say what I think here…”

Hayes: “And I’m allowed also to say what I think…”

Murphy:There is no credibility because Ireland did go out of its way to help, the same, by the way, as Luxembourg did, as Belgium did and as The Netherlands have. All are tax havens. You are sitting in a tax haven, Brian, and that tax haven has made a fundamental error…

Talk over each other

Murphy: ..equality in the world and it decided to undermine fair competition in the world and it’s time Ireland stopped doing this and actually put in a place a fair competition policy that the people of Ireland could be proud of.”

Talk over each other

Hayes: “I’d like to counter that ideological rant.”

Murphy: “It’s not an ideological rant, Brian.”

Hayes: “I have my say now, I have my say now. I fully accept that there were issues in the past that had to be resolved but under the last government and under commitments made by this current government, those issues are being resolved and you need to respect that…”

Listen back in full here

Pics: Rollingnews

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Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes

They say the most important part of a debate is defining the arguments. Suzanne Lynch’s excellent article explaining TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership) is a perfect example of how TTIP opponents have been successful in defining what an EU-US trade agreement, like TTIP, might contain.

Opponents to Atlantic trade are focusing on the straw men of genetically modified food and hormone-treated beef. Let’s be clear – no EU trade agreement will ever lower our level of protection of consumers or food safety. European food standards are not up for negotiation.

Many of these issues arose in the EU-Canada trade deal and were resolved. The scare tactic put forward of some sort of malevolent investor court ruling for multinationals against governments is not borne out by history.

Investment protection exists in 1,400 bilateral agreements signed by EU member states since the 1960s. These have not stopped governments legislating in the public interest. Little if any attention has been given to the massive steps forward for workers rights and the environment a potential trade agreement between Europe and America could bring.

The sustainable development provisions the EU negotiators put forward are the most ambitious provisions on sustainable development, labour protection and the environment put to any trading partner. Europe’s negotiators want TTIP to include the International Labour Organisation’s core standards. The sustainable development chapter ensures high standards for labour and addresses health and safety at work and workers’ rights.

TTIP allows Europe to bring our environmental standards on biodiversity, shipments of chemicals and waste, and sustainable management of natural resources to bear on a global scale. The EU legal text enhances co-operation between the EU and US to fight illegal logging, illegal fishing and the illegal trade in endangered wildlife.

TTIP would make it easier to trade goods and services that help us tackle environmental problems, such as climate-friendly and resource-efficient products. We have an international agreement to combat climate change, and TTIP can help us implement it.

International trade negotiations are complex and cannot be boiled down to a slogan on a placard. The details of TTIP need to be discussed openly, honestly and fairly. A good start is to look at the totality of the negotiating documents and not straw men put forward by opponents to trade.

Brian Hayes MEP,
Donnybrook,
Dublin 4.

TTIP negotiations and global trade (Irish Times letters)

Previously: Luke’s TTIP

Leah Farrell/Rollingnews

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Fine Gael MEP and director of elections, Brian Hayes

On RTÉ Radio One’s Marian Finucane show yesterday the newspaper panel discussed the recent deportation case of the so-called ‘Isil recruiter’ – a 52-year-old father of four who has been living in Ireland for 15 years.

The panel consisted of Fine Gael MEP and director of elections Brian Hayes; Fianna Fáil TD and chairman of the Public Accounts Committee John McGuinness, tax expert and founding member of Tipp McKnight Solicitors Ursula Tipp; crime journalist at the Irish Independent Paul Williams; and finance correspondent at the Irish Times Ciarán Hancock.

At the end of the discussion Mr Hayes raised his concerns about individuals taking cases to the European Court of Human Rights.

Grab a tay.

Ursula Tipp: “The case began on December 21st when this person secured an ex parte – which means a one-sided – temporary injunction preventing his deportation. He was told, ‘ok, look, you get deported’, so he sought the court’s protection, the Irish court’s protection because this case is in Ireland. So the court first granted him this injunction which means it’s not a full judgement but, for the moment basically, a stay on proceedings so that he could stay. This then was actually, the second step was, it was appealed to the High Court by the State and the High Court then lifted the injunction and then the man went back against that decision to the Court of Appeal and then the Court of Appeal actually sat last Wednesday to consider and, at that point, they only had to consider the narrow issue of a stay against the High Court’s lift. And then the Court of Appeal was basically stopped in its tracks, it couldn’t make a decision on it via facts which it received from the European Court of Human Rights…The European Court of Human Rights basically based their stopping of proceedings in Ireland on Article 3 of the Convention of Human Rights. That’s a convention basically why we have the court of human rights and Ireland is a member of it…”

Marian Finucane: “And this said, you may not be returned to a country where they will torture you.”

Tipp: “Yes. It basically says inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment. OK? That’s what Article 3 of the convention says.”

Finucane: “So what happens? Does that override the Irish courts?”

Tipp: “Yes it does because it stands above all that, it even stands above European law.”

Finucane: “It’s just interesting that in this week, if you take in Germany, they closed down the train stations…”

Tipp: “Two train stations..”

Finucane: “If you take in Brussels that they cancelled New Year’s…”

Brian Hayes: “The New Years’ celebrations..”

Finucane: “Similarly in Paris, because they’re afraid of what this crowd Daesh might be doing and planning against us. And like there are human rights..Paul [Williams] did you have a look at that?”

Paul Willliams: “Dearbhail [McDonald] makes a very good point here in the Sunday Independent where she says, you know, that Ireland finds itself at the heart of a legal and moral dilemma in which ISIL suspects may be waging an assault on the west by relying on its human rights laws. Like I recall, sorry…”

Finucane: “It’s a real irony…”

Williams: “Well there’s a real group, there’s a group of people still on this island send out people to murder…”

Finucane: “Now, now, now. Now, now Paul, I’m sorry…”

Williams: “To martyr…”

Finucane: “I get the message that you do not support Sinn Féin.”

Williams: “Oh no, I’m not talking about that, I’m talking about the IRA. But the same argument was…”

Tipp: “Well, maybe, let’s stay with this case…”

Williams: “It’s the same thing with human rights. When people went out to commit murder and they were caught and they were shot dead by security services, then they become murdered people and then they cite human rights and I’m just trying to put it in perspective…”

Finucane: “And rightly, and rightly. That’s what we’ve been working towards..”

Williams: “Yeah and as Dearbhail says…”

Talk over each other

Tipp: “Can I say this one thing on this one because what’s important on this case is that you know there’s this thing, you’re innocent until proven guilty. And that’s true for every human being. And that’s a very general principle. And this particular person in this deportation case is, you know, has to be seen in the same light: innocent until proven guilty. And, as far as I understand, from all that, there has not been the proof that this particular person was even involved in certain things, that proof has not been produced yet.”

Finucane: “Well they say that he’s been under surveillance for many, many years.”

Tipp: “Yes, yeah, and there might be something Marian. I’m only saying that, for the moment..”

Finucane: “No evidence.”

Tipp: “There’s no evidence, yeah.”

Brian Hayes: “But this is going to become more common.”

Tipp: “This is where…yes…but this is where the European Court of Human Rights comes from because they are looking at, they’re treating everybody just as a human being. And no matter how evil, no matter how evil, that.”

Hayes: “The important thing about the European Court of Human Rights, this was the court that ultimately say in the Norris case which ultimately overthrew our ridiculous laws on homosexuality where Ireland was found in breach of denying rights to gay people that famous Norris, David Norris showed great courage in taking that case that subsequently had a change in law. But we now have a situation where individuals, rather than issues, are being taken to the court of human rights and this is going to create huge challenges in circumstances where we have got to confront this new terror outfit called ISIS.”

Listen back here in full

Related: Dearbhail McDonald: Deportation fight creates quagmire for State lawyers (Sunday Independent)

Leah Farrell/Rollingnews.ie

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(Top) Brian Hayes and  Eamon Ryan  (above) calling for a recount.

4am: A night of high drama in the RDS, Ballsbridge, Dublin as the Dublin European election went to a 7th count to decide the final 2 seats.

Lynn Boylan of Sinn Féin was the first candidate to be elected on count 3 after recording an initial 83,264 first preferences votes.

By count 7, it came down to Eamon Ryan (Green), Nessa Childers (Ind) and Brian Hayes (Fine Gael) for the remaining two seats.

It ended with victory to Childers (73,598) and Hayes (73,405) with Ryan closely behind on 72,256 votes who immediately asked for a recount.

A decision on whether a recount will be held will be made at 2pm this afternoon. If Brian Hayes is elected, a by-election in Dublin South West will be needed to decide his vacant Dáil seat.

Recount Requested in Dublin Constituency (RTE)

Meanwhile, earlier…

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From top: Lynn Boylan (Sinn Fein) following the third count; and the eliminated: Emer Costello (Labour) with her husband Joe Costello TD and Mary Fitzpatrick (Fianna Fail).

(Laura Hutton, Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland)

 

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[From left: Former Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan, Brian Purcell, Secretary General at the Department of Justice Brian Purcell and former Justice Minister Alan Shatter]

Department of Justice Secretary General Brian Purcell is now to attend the Justice Committee next week to answer questions in relation to the Guerin Report.

But he has told the committee he will not answer questions about the resignation of Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny sent Mr Purcell to Mr Callinan’s house on the eve of his resignation to express his disquiet over revelations that telephone calls at garda stations had been recorded [specifically telephone calls involving Marie Farrell, a key witness in the Sophie Toscan du Plantier murder case.]

Fine Gael TD and junior finance spokesman Brian Hayes spoke to Ivan Yates on Newstalk Breakfast this morning about Mr Purcell’s refusal to speak about Mr Callinan’s resignation.

Brian Hayes: “I want to see the review completed, I want to see exactly what transpired within the Department of Justice, that’s what [newly appointed Justice Minister] Frances Fitzgerald said. In fairness to her she’s only in the job a wet week at this stage and I think it’s important that we review exactly what occurred. And I’m not going to say whether I’ve got confidence in person or another, until such a time as we know what happened, when and where. But I will say this: I don’t believe anybody, any senior official has the right to set the terms, upon which, he or she will go before a committee. I think it’s only appropriate and right that a senior civil servant would come before an Oireachtas committee and answer all questions surrounding their handling of an issue and their management of a department. And I don’t think anyone has the right to do that and I expect it to be the exact same in Mr Purcell’s case.”

Ivan Yates: “Fair enough. Did you read the Sean Querin report and what it said about the Department of Justice?”

Hayes: “I read the conclusions, I haven’t read the whole…”

Yates: “He didn’t put a tooth in it. He said that the minister was given no paper trail of advice, saying that he had a statutory responsibility to effectively second guess the gardai investigating the gardai, in the case of the McCabe allegations. I mean is that not enough to say that Mr Purcell’s position is untenable?”

Hayes: “Well I would have thought that not only would Mr Purcell have to come before the committee but, secondly, that this would have to be a section in the upcoming Commission of Investigation. I was on your programme six weeks ago, you might remember at the time, and I said, this was the day after Enda Kenny had obtained from Micheal Martin the information which ultimately led to the investigation by Mr Guerin. I said that if the recommendation of the initial investigation by Sean Guerin was that we needed a full-blooded Commission of Investigation that the Government would do that. I think at the time you poo-pooed it and said ‘oh no, that’s not gonna happen and that’s just political speak’. Well it has happened and I think this is going to have to be a module within the Commission of Investigation, surrounding all of the information. Because clearly information was not given to the minister. There is some dysfunctional nature within the department, there’s no doubt about that. If one looks at the whole legacy issues surrounding this and other problems, it goes back to a communications link. And maybe, we need to be much clearer, maybe? We need to be much clearer as to where the operations of the gardai stand, where the operations of the Department of Justice stand but I would have thought that this would have to be a module within the Commission of Investigation and, as such, we’ll have to get to the bottom of it.”

Yates: “Do you agree with Leo Varadkar that the Department of Justice is not fit for purpose?”

Hayes: “That’s evident.”

Minister slams top civil servant (Newstalk)

Previously: “In The Event Of Any Further Unexpected Disclosures”

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