[Fsfe-ie] Charlie McCreevy

Seth Johnson seth.johnson at realmeasures.dyndns.org
Sat Aug 14 12:26:52 CEST 2004

Ian Clarke wrote:
> According to this:
>    http://www.nwfusion.com/news/2004/0813newcommi.html
> ...Charlie McCreevy, former Irish finance minister, will be taking over
> from Frits Bolkestein in the European Commission, and will be
> responsible for steering the software patents directive from now on.
> What do we know about his position on swpat, and does anyone know
> whether he has been lobbied on this issue yet?

I found not a lot on software patents per se on Google, but lots on his

He seems to be very central in policy associated with their recent apparent
economic upswing, so there's lots to find about him and also about how the
economy is described, under the above search terms.  He seems to have a lot
on his plate.

Attached are some interesting passages.

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McCreevy has been the chair of ECOFIN since January up until June:

> http://www.businessworld.ie/livenews.htm?a=839558;s=rollingnews.htm

McCreevy to chair EcoFin from tomorrow 
Monday, January 19 14:56:19 

Finance Minister Charlie McCreevy will tomorrow chair the first meeting of the EcoFin council under the Irish presidency of the EU in Brussels. 

The Minister takes over the chair of the EcoFin Council for a period during which the Union will enlarge to include the 10 accession countries, with their formal joining on 1 May 2004. 
He will chair a total of six meeting of the Council in the presidency, one in each month, over the period to end-June. 
The meetings will take place in Brussels and Luxembourg, with the exception of the informal meeting in April which will be held in Punchestown, Naas, Co Kildare.

< SNIP >


> http://www.finfacts.com/Private/friday/fri_irfl.htm

< SNIP >


The Minister for Finance, Charlie McCreevy, has been allocated the Internal Markets and Services portfolio in the new European Commission - one of the four powerful economic posts. 

(Followed by a lot of unemployment stats, with definition of who's counted as unemployed)



> http://www.arthurcox.com/dynamic/publications/Techbrief%20-%20Technology%20Group%20bulletin,%20June-July%202004.pdf

I got the following passage.  Is the R&D tax credit spoken of here significant?

Techbrief | technology group bulletin, june/july 2 0 0 4

< SNIP >

R&D Tax Credit comes into effect

The Minister for Finance, Mr. Charlie McCreevy TD, has signed a Commencement Order bringing into effectthe new research and development (R&D) tax credit. In the Finance Act, 2004 the Minister provided for a 20%tax credit for additional expenditure on R&D that can be set against a company?s corporation tax liability. TheOrder made by the Minister for Finance appoints 1 January 2004 as the effective date for the operation ofthe provision.Meanwhile, the T?naiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Mary Harney, has announced themaking of Regulations for the purposes of providing detailed guidance on what activities constitute R&Dactivities for the purposes of the tax credit. These Regulations will have effect from 1 January 2004.

Above that is the following interesting passage:

i n t e l l e c t u a l   p r o p e r t y   t r e n d s   i n   2 0 0 3

The Annual Report of the Controller of Patents,Designs and Trade Marks was published on 23rdApril 2004. The Report reveals some interestingtrends in relation to filings for the various formsof intellectual property. Patents and trade marksare the most commonly known of the registrableforms of intellectual property. However there isalso protection for designs and in certaincircumstances the Controller has jurisdiction inrespect of copyright matters.It is clear that overall the bulk of applications forall forms of registered intellectual propertyprotection originate from Ireland, the UK andthe US.Following Ireland's ratification of the EuropeanPatent Convention in 1992, which allows for thecentralised filing of patent application in Europe,it is generally acknowledged that the number ofnational patent applications here has fallen. TheReport confirms that the number of patentapplications has now stabilised at around 25% ofthe pre 1992 level. However the number of patentapplications filed in Ireland during 2003 was 939,which is less than in the previous year and is thelowest figure since 1996. Additionally the IrishPatent Office is a receiving office for internationalpatent applications under the Patent Co-Operation Treaty. Almost 50% of suchapplications were made by non-Irish applicants.The Office also administers European patentapplications. There has been a 61% increase insuch filings since 2002.During 2003, the Controller received 141applications for registration of designs, inrelation to a total of 274 designs. It appears thatthe number of Irish applicants is less than lastyear however. Design legislation dates back to1927, yet it is arguably the least well known ofregistrable intellectual property rights. SinceMarch 2002, there is also a system which allowsfor the protection of both registered andunregistered designs on a European Communitybasis. The unregistered right lasts for three yearswhereas the registered rights lasts for five yearsbut is renewable. Although applications forregistered Community Designs have beenpermissible since January 2003, only 11applications have been filed through the Irishoffice.

A total of 2,427 applications for trade marks werereceived during 2003 compared to 2,604 in 2002and 3,760 in 2001. Like patents, this can beexplained by an increasing international focus.Thus the number of international applicationsdesignating Ireland received in 2003 was 3,739compared to 105 in 2001. The Controllerestimates that international applications accountfor approximately 60% of all new applicationsreceived during 2003. It is also worth noting theimportance of monitoring trade mark portfoliosbecause 3,830 trade marks were removed fromthe register in 2003 due to non payment ofrenewal fees.The Copyright and Related Rights Act, 2000 givesthe Controller authority to determine disputes inrelation to the use of sound recordings in publicand he oversees the Register of CopyrightLicensing Bodies, the Register of LicensingBodies for Performers? Property Rights and theRegister of Licensing Bodies for Database Rights. There are a number of legislative developments intrain at present. One useful development is theproposal to establish a link between theprocedure for obtaining an international trademark registration and a Community Trade Markregistration. In other words a Community TradeMark could be used as a basis for an internationalregistration and vice versa. The benefit for theapplicant will be reduced cost and increasedefficiency. Such a development is likely tocontinue the move away from nationalapplications.Businesses should be aware of the full range ofintellectual property protection available and beconscious of the fact that a significant proportionof applications here are international in nature(designating Ireland) and are being made by non-Irish entities. Being aware of and reacting tointernational trends in intellectual propertyprotection is a good basis on which businessescan build competitive advantage.The Annual Report can be viewed atwww.patentsoffice.ie.In Brief? Information Technology Law - Professional Practice GuidesRob Corbet, Mark Rasdale and Pearse Ryan are contributing authors to ?Information Technology Law -Professional Practice Guides? published by the Law Society of Ireland and Cavendish Publishing Limited. Robalso contributed to the Law Society?s ?Business Law? book which has been published by OxfordUniversity Press.?Colin Kavanagh gave a talk at the third O2 Digital Media Conference on the future direction of film and musicfrom a legal perspective.?Rob Corbet made a presentation to Nova UCD campus companies in July entitled ?Getting the Most fromYour Lawyer?.?John Menton spoke to the Midland Enterprise Board in May on raising finance for technology start-ups.? R&D Tax Credit comes into effectThe Minister for Finance, Mr. Charlie McCreevy TD, has signed a Commencement Order bringing into effectthe new research and development (R&D) tax credit. In the Finance Act, 2004 the Minister provided for a 20%tax credit for additional expenditure on R&D that can be set against a company?s corporation tax liability. TheOrder made by the Minister for Finance appoints 1 January 2004 as the effective date for the operation ofthe provision.Meanwhile, the T?naiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Mary Harney, has announced themaking of Regulations for the purposes of providing detailed guidance on what activities constitute R&Dactivities for the purposes of the tax credit. These Regulations will have effect from 1 January 2004.


> http://www.tax-news.com/asp/story/story.asp?storyname=16649

McCreevy Brings New R&D Tax Credit Into Force, by Jason Gorringe, Tax-News.com, London 14 July 2004

Irish Minister for Finance Charlie McCreevy has signed a Commencement Order bringing into effect the country?s new research and development tax credit. 

The new measure, which has an effective date of January 1, 2004, is contained in the Finance Act and makes provision for a 20% tax credit for additional expenditure on R&D that can be set against a company's corporation tax liability. 

Noted Mr McCreevy of the new rules: ?R&D is the key to a more knowledge-intensive economy aimed at providing a sustainable long-term basis for growth in employment and incomes.? 

He continued: ?The tax credit for R&D will help to enhance our competitiveness as a location for new internationally mobile research-related investment, and will encourage existing overseas and indigenous firms to add research functions to their operations in Ireland or to increase their level of research activity." 

Meanwhile, the T?naiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Mary Harney, has announced the drafting of Regulations designed to give companies guidance on what activities constitute research and development for the purposes of the tax credit. 

"The overall aim of the R&D tax credit is to encourage an increase in the amount of research and development carried out by companies and to make Ireland an attractive destination for foreign companies to commence or increase research and development,? Ms Harney commented. 

She added: ?Specifically, we are seeking to encourage activities which will contribute to an enhancement of the calibre of research and development in Ireland and create high quality jobs and opportunities for our workforce." 

These Regulations will also have an effective date of January 1, 2004. 


> http://www.tax-news.com/asp/story/story.asp?storyname=14322

McCreevy Abolishes Stamp Duty On Intellectual Property Transfers, by Robin Pilgrim, LawAndTax-News.com, London 05 December 2003

Irish Finance Minister, Charlie McCreevy's decision to remove stamp duty on transfers of intellectual property (IP) has been welcomed, although there is some confusion as to the likely extent of the measure.

Currently, purchasers of intellectual property such as patents, copyrights, and trademarks are obliged to pay stamp duty at a rate of 9% on the gross value of the IP in question.

However, concern has been expressed about the fact that Mr McCreevy made no mention of goodwill (the most common type of IP on which stamp duty is currently paid) in his budget speech on Wednesday, suggesting that it may not be included in the exemption.

The estimated costs of the measure, predicted to be around 300,000 euros over one year, provide support for suggestions that goodwill may not be included.

Speaking with regard to the stamp duty exemption following the unveiling of his financial statement, the Finance Minister explained that:

"There will be consultations with relevant bodies about the scope of the provision before publication of the Finance Bill."


He was the guest of honor at the following "Software Industry Awards" event held by the Irish Software Association.  No mention of exclusive rights.

> http://www.software.ie/Sectors/ISA/ISADoclib3.nsf/0/63acc30a5390b28c80256d47004ab026/$FILE/ATTYNKTS/ISA%20Annual%20Review%202003.pdf

The Irish Software Association?sAnnual Dinner Dance andPresentation of the 2002 SoftwareIndustry Awards was held in theBurlington Hotel, Dublin onFriday 15th November 2002. Fivehundred guests attended one ofthe industry?s most prestigiousevents with Mary Hanafin,Minister of State at theDepartment of the Taoiseachpresenting the prizes. TheMinister for Finance Mr CharlieMcCreevy TD, was the guest ofhonour. The success of thisevent, given the challenging yearfor most software companiesagain demonstrated the valueplaced on the awards by theindustry


> http://www.kc3.co.uk/~dt/Ireland.htm

Here is a long article from the time of the Nice Treaty that indicates that McCreevy is willing to stand up when it comes to EU Constitution language for vetoing taxes, but there's all sorts of shady behavior alluded to here.  Only a brief mention of SW patents unrelated to McCreevy per se.  But here are a couple of discouraging paragraphs, given the present political juncture regarding the SW Patent Directive:

The Nice treaty on EU enlargement held up by Irish opposition is a flawed plan on course for a second defeat by Irish voters, Valery Giscard d'Estaing, the head of a new Convention on the bloc's future, said on Thursday. Veteran former French President Giscard d'Estaing told France Inter radio the treaty aimed at widening the bloc to include 12 new members, most from eastern Europe, was a failure. "The Nice treaty satisfied no one, and what's more, at the time, it could not be ratified because one of the countries refused to ratify it - Ireland," he said, referring to the referendum held in Ireland last June. "They will vote again but you know that current polls show another "no" and if they (the Irish) say no, there is no Nice treaty, as it must be ratified unanimously," he added. Ireland's veto of the treaty rocked the 15-nation bloc to the core and reminded its sometimes remote leaders that the public must be kept on board. Irish premier Bertie Ahern has said it is essential his people ratify the treaty and hopes to win a second referendum on Nice, despite the pessimistic signs, some time next year. (Reuters 21 Dec 2001)

< . . . >

EU foreign ministers issued a statement saying in effect that they would ignore the result of the Irish referendum. In a common communiqu?, they said, "While respecting the will of the Irish people, the foreign ministers expressed their regrets at the outcome of the Irish referendum on the Nice treaty. They rule out any re-opening of the text signed at Nice. The process of ratification will be continued on the basis of this text and in accordance with the planned timetable. The other fourteen states have said they are ready to help the Irish government in all possible ways to find a way out by taking into account the worries which the results of the referendum reflect, without re-opening the text of the Nice treaty." By this statement, European leaders formally gave notice that they have abolished democracy. It is a long-established fundamental principle of democracies that governments are responsible to the people who elected them and to their representatives. By stating that the ratification process is a rubber stamp which can be overruled at will, the governments of Europe have explicitly stated that they do not recognise the rights of their national legislatures (for instance to ratify treaties, or to change the constitutional structures which govern their countries) and that instead they, the governments, enjoy those rights instead. This is, quite literally, a coup d??tat. (European Foundation Intelligence Digest Issue No. 121 1st ? 13th June 2001)


> http://prorev.com/foreign3.htm

World News
from The Progressive Review

AMBROSE EVANS-PRITCHARD, TELEGRAPH, LONDON: Ireland's Attorney General, Michael McDowell, has accused officials in Brussels of arrogantly trying to force Europe's diverse nations into a super-state no one wants. Mr McDowell told the Institute of European Affairs in Dublin that Irish voters rejected the European Union's Nice Treaty partly because of a "widespread perception that developments in Europe were taking a turn, or moving in a direction, that caused deep unease." He said "a narrow class of activist office-holders, elected and unelected," were charging ahead of public opinion . . . His speech on Monday was a further warning to Brussels that it will not be easy to make the Irish change their minds in a second referendum. During the weekend's summit at Gothenburg, EU leaders refused to contemplate altering any text in the treaty, although it is technically null and void for all 15 states if any country refuses to ratify it. The Irish prime minister, Bertie Ahern, was told it was his responsibility to resolve the constitutional impasse, despite several leaders admitting privately that they would have had difficulties if the treaty had been put to a popular test in their own countries. Mr McDowell is the fourth Irish cabinet member to break ranks. The finance minister, Charlie McCreevy, caused astonishment in Gothenburg by describing Ireland's rejection of the treaty as a "healthy development".

BRIAN LAVERY, NY TIMES: In a serious political embarrassment for the Irish government, figures released today showed that voters had forcefully rejected a treaty that would expand membership of the European Union . . . With the referendum, the Irish government hoped to be one of the first countries to ratify the so-called Treaty of Nice, which was negotiated over four days last December. Of the 15 European Union members, only Ireland requires a nationwide vote to approve such treaties. Under the treaty former Communist countries like Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic would be admitted to the union. The group's structures would also be reformed in line with the expansion plans. Rejection of the treaty will not mean any immediate difficulties for the 12 countries, mostly in Eastern Europe, who are currently applying for membership. Their applications are in the early stages and there is plenty of time to renegotiate the treaty before the final stage of the application process. MORE . . . [SINCE 1972, incidentally, Irish support for the EU has dropped from over 80% to the mid 40s.]


(At the following link, I believe we observe McCreevy attending an Ecofin meeting in 2000 setting up the Nice Treaty, which the Irish public rejected by a referendum that was subsequently overridden.  They list a set of performance indicators here, which includes a simple item: patents under "Innovation and Research.")

> http://ue.eu.int/ueDocs/cms_Data/docs/pressData/en/ecofin/ACF717B.htm

2301st Council meeting


Brussels, 7 November 2000

President : Mr Laurent FABIUS
Minister for Economic Affairs, Finance and Industry of the French Republic

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The importance of significantly improving the flow of funding for innovative enterprises and new entrepreneurs to foster employment was highlighted in the conclusions of the Lisbon European Council of 23 and 24 March 2000, which asked "the Council and the Commission to report by the end of 2000 on the ongoing review of EIB and EIF financial instruments in order to redirect funding towards support for business start-ups, high-tech firms and micro-enterprises, as well as other risk-capital initiatives proposed by the EIB".

The Council welcomes the Commission's communication on review of Community financial instruments for enterprises, including the steps envisaged to improve coordination, and supports the need to adapt the Community financial instruments in line with the new knowledge based economy.

The Council estimates that there is a need to stimulate the new knowledge based economy and the entrepreneurial spirit in the European Union by facilitating the creation of innovative companies and taking full advantage of R&D effort. In particular, the Council notes that there still remains a noticeable financing gap for very early stage technology-based companies. Therefore the Council considers that, within the present budgetary framework, Community instruments should be refocused on earlier phases in the innovation cycle, addressing identifiable market failures.

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The Council discussed a draft report prepared by the Economic Policy Committee on structural performance indicators. This report had been requested by the Lisbon European Council and it took account of a Commission communication on the same subject. The purpose of these indicators is to be able to assess progress made in economic and social reforms more objectively in the four priority areas developed in Lisbon, namely employment, innovation, economic reform and social cohesion. The report also contains general indicators on the economic context.

As suggested by the Commission, the Council agreed on a global list of indicators which were common to the Council and the Commission. This list did not pre-empt the, no doubt shorter, list of indicators which would be taken to illustrate the Commission's synthesis report to the Stockholm European Council.

At the close of the discussions the Council decided to submit the report to the Nice European Council together with a note from the Presidency summarising the comments made by the delegations on the number and the type of indicators.

These structural indicators are listed in Annex.

< SNIP >

(I've snipped the indicators, except under Innovation and Research.  It appears that they are simply taking the number of patents as an direct indicator!)

New list of INDICATORS 

General economic background indicators

List of 28 indicators

I. Employment 
II. Innovation and research

	1. Public expenditure on education
	2. R&D expenditure
	3. ICT expenditure
	4. Level of Internet access
	5. Patents 
	6. Exports of high-technology products
	7. Venture capital

III. Economic Reform
IV. Social Cohesion


This 1999 document gives some of the early rationale for the policies generally intended to encourage foreign investment in technology in Ireland.  It briefly mentions some controversy regarding McCreevy's controversial budget in the context of the introduction of the Euro:

> http://www.techwatch.ie/files/6_3/99review.doc


> http://www.indymedia.ie/newswire.php?story_id=66022

Well done MEP De Rossa for having the courage to expose McCreevy 
by Gravy Train Friday, Jul 23 2004, 8:38pm

Charlie McCreevy appointment takes us to a Supermarket Europe 
by alen - lp Saturday, Jul 24 2004, 7:59am 

Charlie McCreevy's appointment is a move away from a Social Europe in the direction of a Supermarket Europe

Speaking in the European Parliament today Proinsias De Rossa MEP condemned Charlie McCreevy's nomination as a European Commissioner, describing him as one of the most right wing Ministers for Finance in Europe. He reminded the Parliament that he was one of the Ministers for Finance who sought to remove the Parliament's democratic control over the Union's budget. 

"In Ireland McCreevy has presided over the worst housing crisis, health crisis and growing inequality for a generation, at a time of massive wealth creation. He is a right winger who believes in incentives - tax breaks and hand outs for the wealthy and a kick in 'arse' for the poor. 

Mr De Rossa, while listing some of the Irish Presidency's more glaring social policy failures, as well as those on Iraq and debt cancellation, praised the Taoiseach and his team in successfully concluding the historic negotiations on the European Constitution. 

"Their success was in retaining the broad framework, values, objectives and citizens rights which the European Convention had drafted. By doing so I believe the legitimacy of the European integration process has been enhanced while the foundation for a more democratic and inclusive Europe has been laid. 


> http://www.idaireland.com/news/Business%20Ireland%20HTML/BusinessIre_win03/

Lots of puff pieces on this page about "IP" enterprises, including a picture of Mr. McCreevy welcoming one new venture.  Plus the following interesting passages:

Sharp increase in FDI for Ireland

'Ireland was the only European Union (EU) country to enjoy a sharp increase in FDI (foreign direct investment) in 2003, more than doubling its inflow to almost $42 billion from $19 billion,' says the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), whose FDI data is regarded as among the most authoritative in the world.


European Union (EU) 374.4 341.8 

Ireland 19 41.7 
France 51.5 36.4 
Germany 38 36.3 
Luxembourg 125.7 103.9 
Netherlands 29.2 30.5 
United Kingdom 24.9 23.9 
Australia 14 10 
Canada 20.6 11.1 
Japan 9.3 7.5 
Switzerland 9.3 0.4 
United States 30 86.6 

< . . . >

(This is stuff from Sean Dorgan, who I think reports to McCreevy)

Ireland is now a knowledge economy

"Ireland can now convincingly claim to be a knowledge economy," said Sean Dorgan, Chief Executive of IDA Ireland in the Agency's review of 2003. "Developments during 2003 in the inward investment arena reinforced the transformation which has been underway in key competitive features of the economy making it attractive for a new breed of high level projects based on knowledge and the way we use it." 

"Such high level projects secured in 2003 were Google, Overture and eBay/PayPal ? each of which is establishing a key European Centre in Dublin; ABB's new global R&D and marketing Centre in Dundalk, and Ingersoll Rand's new global export sales and service operation in Co. Dublin. 

Ireland's transformation to a 'knowledge economy' is currently being conveyed to the international marketplace by IDA through a new marketing message ? "Ireland, knowledge is in our nature"?," said Mr. Dorgan 

Mr. Dorgan continued "In Research and Development there were 39 new investments, totalling over ?100 million, approved for IDA-supported companies. And a total of 64 inward investment projects (33 greenfield and 31 expansions) were supported during the year." 

"These R&D investments included Olympus Diagnostica's addition of a fully integrated research and knowledge base in Co. Clare; Intel's new Innovation Centre for R&D in leading-edge IT technology in Co. Kildare; and three separate R&D investments, totalling ?34 million, by GlaxoSmithKline in Cork," he added.

 "The manufacturing investments for which we are competing now require a high proportion of third level graduates (e.g. Abbott Laboratories' new Longford and Sligo operations will require 80% of the 950 employees to have a third level qualification) and people with advanced skills (e.g. SAP's new global technical support centre in Galway and WyethMedica's recruit-ment of 800 people in Dublin for its high skilled biopharmaceutical facility, the largest in the world)," he said.

The quality of the activities now being attracted to Ireland is also reflected by the fact that almost 40% of the new jobs in IDA-supported projects secured in 2003 will pay salaries in excess of ?37,000. In addition, overseas companies in Ireland now spend ?14.7 billion in the Irish economy from their annual sales of ?69.3 billion and exports of ?65.2 billion. 

"Looking to 2004, we believe that the coming year will be our best since 2000 in terms of new investments into Ireland and of growth in the value and scale of activities in overseas companies here. We are now competing for some very significant investments of high value and considerable skill content," concluded Mr. Dorgan.

Ireland, knowledge is in our nature

Ireland, knowledge is in our nature? - the new Ireland brand message highlighting Ireland's transformation to a 'knowledge economy' is currently being conveyed to the international marketplace by IDA. 

Sean Dorgan, Chief Executive of IDA Ireland,says "It is designed to tell the story and highlight the characteristics that define Ireland and its people. The innate creative imagination of Irish people has long existed and has been an impetus for sparkling accomplishments in recent years. Ireland provides the right environment to bring knowledge-based businesses to peak performance. This has been proven time and again by leading global companies here. The ability to use knowledge quickly, flexibly and creatively is a distinguishing feature of Ireland for these companies."

"Our success in coming years will be fundamentally dependent on our ability to achieve an environment where research and knowledge, high level skills and expertise, high quality infrastructure and business services, are combined in that flexible and creative way which is almost uniquely Irish. Our new marketing message will show to international investors that we already have many of these essential features."

Thenew brand message has been endorsed by international business leaders such as Michael Dell of Dell, "At the heart of the Irish and Dell character are big dreams, a passion for building and re-building and the tenacity to adapt to challenging circumstances." And Jim O'Hara of Intel Ireland, "Our employees have consistently proven their ability to master the disciplines involved in the world's most advanced technologies." 

"The visual interpretation of the theme combines the computer image of a human DNA sequence, DNA being what makes each of us unique just as the characteristics that define Ireland are also unique, with the human hand print, to emphasise the essential human aspects of knowledge ? imagination, creativity, skills, ideas and culture. This visual balance between humanity and technology represents the essential harmony required to build a sustainable knowledge-based economy and society," said Mr. Dorgan.


> http://www.worldeyereports.com/Reports/ireland/

Climbing the value ladder
Thursday, March 11, 1999

Ireland has been transformed from a predominantly agrarian postcolonial society into a vibrant economic force that has consistently topped the OECD countries in terms of economic growth over each of the past five years. "In a decade, we have turned the economy around from bankruptcy to what is now called the Celtic Tiger," stated the minister for finance, Charlie, McCreevy, as he summarized the state of affairs. 

(picture) Charlie McCreevy, Minister for finance

Unlike most European countries, Ireland has no industrial revolution skeletons in its closet to weigh down the economy. The people left the potato fields andstepped directly into cutting-edge research centers and laboratories. This country of tradition is burgeoning with new influences generated by its inclusion into the European Union in 1973.

"Joining the European Community was a very significant decision," explained Sean Dorgan, chief executive officer of the Industrial Development Agency (IDA). "Not only in terms of market accessibility or fiscal transfers but restating Ireland's position in the global community and within Europe in particular."

Ireland's remarkable economic performance has been unprecedented since the foundation of the republic and has increased opportunities and options for everyone. Unemployment is at all-time low and employers actually feel it is a challenge to find sufficient employees. The living standard is rising, salaries are increasing and property prices are skyrocketing. With a youthful population in prosperity, the country is finding itself in an atmosphere of confidence and optimism.

The country's recent success is a result of a number of factors. Being one of the most profitable destination in Europe for overseas companies to establish themselves, Ireland has thrived on direct foreign investment. It is attractive due to its competitive cost structure, low taxation, flexible and skilled labor force. The corporate tax rate of 12.5 percent, remains the lowest in Europe. Ireland also boasts an inflation rate of less than 3 percent since 1992. 

The government encourages entrepreneurial activity and aims to stimulate the economy further through their policy of privatization. The recent flotation of the state telecommunications company proved a well-managed boost to the economy. Several banks are being considered for sale and the government is discussing the privatization of state-owned airports, airlines and ports. Dublin's stock exchange has been one of the world's best performing markets over the past two years.

< SNIP >

Initially, investment inflows were focused at the basic assembly level in the internationally buoyant sectors. Investment in the computer industry followed suit as multinational blue-chip enterprises established production and research facilities, eventually making Ireland the second-largest exporter of software in the world. Pharmaceutical and health-care companies also began to invest in Ireland.

The field of financial services has also shown rapid growth in Ireland, especially since the establishment of the International Financial Services Center (IFSC). "Over time, the level of activity, the volume of activity and the quality of activity has continually increased. Now we are very significant players in European terms in foreign direct investment. We have significant market share in terms of manufacturing and financial services," explained Dorgan.

Various indigenous companies are also on the rise as they ride the waves of demand in the successful economy. Some companies rise to be key players in their market, others profit from patents. 

For many years, the key measure of IDA performance was the number of new jobs that they managed to generate from their investments. Now, instead of bringing in large companies to provide employment, the IDA must meet the challenges that accompany economic maturity and build on Ireland's achievements.

With its economic framework in place, Ireland is ready to take the next step and work toward improving its resilience and adaptability to the ever-changing demands of the world market. Economic analysts believe that Ireland can sustain future prosperity as long as the foundations are firm enough to withstand the precarious course of fluctuating global economic conditions.  

With regional development a priority, Ireland is focusing on bringing investment into areas other than Dublin and its surroundings to enable the entire country to benefit from the quickly rising economy. Attention is being placed on the cities Limerick, Cork and Galway, and there is a drive to spread prosperity to the segment of the population that is not directly benefiting from the economic boom.

However, most agree that Ireland needs to address its deficit in infrastructure. An essential point of concentration for the future of Ireland lies in the development of a modern infrastructure in terms of quality roads, airports and ports. The plan proposed by the Department of Finance will involve spending 33.4 billion punts over the next seven years to develop the country's roads, railways, human resources, housing and sewer systems. This is an essential factor in the sustainability of Ireland's economic resurgence.

"For years upon years, we were grappling with the problems of failure. Now, we have to deal with the problems of success," stated McCreevy as he summarized Ireland's condition. "We must focus on how we will go through our next phase of development."

The Irish are aware that the Celtic Tiger image is a vulnerable one, and thus move very cautiously with careful planning. Investments are made for the long term. They remain supremely confident and given the economic forecasts, have every reason to be. 


Charlie McCreevy Accused Of Bending Tax Rules To Assist Eircom Privatisation
> http://www.tax-news.com/asp/story/story.asp?storyname=15101


An article showing him standing up to the Commission on other policies:

> http://www.rte.ie/business/2004/0114/eurozone.html

McCreevy calm on Commission challenge
January 14, 2004

Finance Minister Charlie McCreevy has said the EU Commission's decision to mount a challenge to a decision taken by EU finance ministers in November may be a good thing.

The Commission said yesterday it would challenge in the European Court of Justice the ministers' decision not to impose sanctions on France and Germany over their budgetary policy. 

The sanctions procedures had been recommended by the European Commission but opposed by a majority of ministers including Charlie McCreevy.

Mr McCreevy told RTE radio the challenge may provide legal certainty for the future, but he also warned that it could throw Commission powers in many other areas into doubt.

He said the move may also make it easier to change the EU Stability & Growth Pact, which underpins the euro and sets strict rules for member states' budget deficits. The Minister would like to see the rules changed to take more account of issues such as the size of the country, levels of debt and the state of the public finances.

< SNIP >


> http://www.auril.org.uk/webpages/LES%20News%20Mar%2004.doc

< SNIP >

5.      Finance Bill 2004 - Stamp Duty Exemption for Intellectual Property Transfers 

On 4 February 2004, Minister McCreevy published the Finance Bill, 2004. As was anticipated in the Budget, the Finance Bill currently includes an exemption from stamp duty on transfers of intellectual property, and it provides that the exemption will apply where a transfer of intellectual property involves one of the following:

(a)     any invention, patent, supplementary protection certificate, trade mark, domain name, registered design, copyright (and related rights) or design right,
(b)     any plant breeders' rights under the Plant Varieties (Proprietary Rights) Act 1980,  
(c)     any application for the grant or registration of anything within paragraph (a) or (b),  
(d)     any licence or other right in respect of anything within paragraph (a), (b) or (c), 
(e)     any rights under the law of a country, territory, State or area outside the State, that correspond or are similar to those within paragraph (a), (b), (c) or (d),and
(f)     goodwill, to the extent that it is inherent in anything within paragraph (a), (b), (c), (d) or (e).  

LES had made submissions to the Minister in respect of the desirability of removing the charge to stamp duty to IP transfer, and welcomes the imminent amendments to the  law.  LES has also made submissions to the department as to the nature and scope of the exemption framed in the Bill.


> http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/ZZSI433Y1997.html
> http://www.irishstatutebook.ie/ZZSI403Y1999.html

(Here he signs off on a couple of pricing policies for exclusive rights.  Look at later; it's just that he signs these things.  Could be significant policy, but I didn't read it.)

> http://www.finance.gov.ie/Viewtxt.asp?fn=/documents/Publications/legi/si72103.htm&StartDate=1+January+2004

(This is another rule, by McCreevy himself, eliminating some sorta tax on interest and royalties.  Look at later.)


> http://www.eu2004.ie/templates/news.asp?sNavlocator=66&list_id=493

(Nothing about software patents or exclusive rights policy per se here, but a bigwig meeting he presided over, with links to some of his speeches.)

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