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Enda Kenny meeting Joseph Kennedy in Boston Photo by: Boston Globe

Irish leader Enda Kenny’s US charm offensive continues

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Enda Kenny meeting Joseph Kennedy in Boston Photo by: Boston Globe

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“Our technology, our talent and our track record are quite unique in the sense that we can offer this to any potential investor,” Mr. Kenny added, before throwing in the other big “T”, which has in the past attracted so many corporations to Ireland.
 
“We’re not moving off our 12.5% corporation tax rate,” he said, not for the first time on the trip.
 
“The numbers of tech companies, of banking companies, of top companies off the internet. They’re all in Ireland because they recognize the creativity and the imagination of our young people. American business now knows that we’re not messing around in Ireland. There’s clarity, there’s decisiveness, there’s definition, there’s a horizon.”
 
Focusing on Ireland’s commitments to the Troika which have caused so much resentment among Irish taxpayers forced to pay for the woeful decision-making of politicians and bankers, he said the payments and the pain they involve for the average person would continue.
 
“We’re going to pay our debts,” he said. “But we want a facility to have a lower interest rate over a longer period. We’ll pay it in full, and keep our reputation and our status and our credibility in tact.”
 
E-3 visa
 
Asked by The Irish Emigrant how he felt the E-3 visa issue was progressing and what his response would be to the undocumented Irish who feel aggrieved at being removed from the process, he said he was enthusiastic on the former and sympathized on the latter.
 
“I spoke to Senator Mitch McConnell yesterday and he is very supportive of the efforts that Senator Brown is making here,” he said of the Massachusetts senator’s introduction of legislation which would see 10,500 Irish entitled to work legally in the US each year on rolling work permits. Adding that he had met and spoken with Senator Brown at the previous night’s Irish Network event, he said he could encourage, but not dictate.
 
“It’s not for Ireland to interfere in the American legislative process, it’s not our place. But we’ve had discussions with all of the parties. We’re encouraging them to continue [their work]. We would like to see it brought to a successful conclusion.
 
“We understand the politics of how this operates…and obviously in an election year there are some considerations in there. In its current form it would be of great benefit to Ireland.
 
“We’ll back Senator Brown, Senator McConnell and Senator [Charles] Schumer in their joint efforts to bring this to a conclusion. If we can be of any assistance in that regard, as an Irish Government, we’re very supportive of having it finalized.
 
“Insofar as the undocumented feeling aggrieved at being left behind, it’s always a difficulty. They’re in this country, they’re working. In lots of cases they’re paying Social Security, they’re running businesses. It’s a question of how you legitimize people who are undocumented. That’s not confined to the Irish alone.
 
“[They] have been in limbo for well over a decade and are still in limbo, because immigration policy in the US is so sensitive and so complex…you cover so many nationalities.
“When we had the Kennedy-McCain bill before, that [failed] because of a lack of Republican support in the South. [It] can be very sensitive because you’re dealing with huge numbers.”
 
Meanwhile late last week it emerged that Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) and Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) have indicated they will support the Irish E-3 bill. Their addition to the list of supporters would see some 58 senators currently in favor, just two votes shy of the filibuster-proof majority. The bill however remains at the mercy of the underlying bill HR3012, the Fairness for High-Skilled Immigrants Act, currently stalled by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA).

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