SL: Will you stay in Ireland?
PM: There is this slightly annoying thing: they’ve capped the artist’s exemption. It used to be that, as an artist, you didn’t have to pay taxes in Ireland. So obviously that was really great for Bono and Enya, but it was also a sort of cultural apology for the appalling way artists were treated in the early years of the state, when they were censored and often had to leave the country. It basically means that if you spend 5 years writing a book, not making any money, then in the year that your book comes out, you’re not going to get buried with taxes when you actually earn something. But now they’ve capped it at €40,000. Most Irish artists don’t make anywhere near that so it doesn’t matter in a lot of cases, but given that it’s still a very expensive country to be an artist in, that does make it slightly harder to stay here. But that being said, my family is here, all my friends are here and I think that Dublin is a really great city. It’s small, it’s easy enough to find your way around and there really is a sense of community here that is increasingly rare in the world. As I get older I value that more and more: the importance of friendship and the importance of having people around you who you trust and you can talk to. It would take a lot for me to leave that.
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