U2 singer Bono has claimed Ireland should have burnt the bondholders when the Celtic Tiger economy collapsed.
The rock legend has also defended U2’s tax arrangements again and welcomed the end of the special tax deals for multi-national corporations.
In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Independent newspaper, Bono reveals that he saw world famous investor and philanthropist George Soros ‘go for’ European Council president Herman Van Rompuy over the issue of Ireland being forced to pay off all our bondholders.
He also told the paper that Ireland should have burnt bondholders when the country went through the troika bailout.
Bono said: “They are all big boys and they could have afforded a haircut and a new suit and some underwear if that was necessary.
“That was a grim, grim moment in our history. Our people paid far too high a price.
“I saw George Soros go for Van Rompuy over the matter and it was embarrassing because George Soros knew more about the details of the Irish bond market than I did.
“The whole thing was just very, very unfair. I was amazed at the subtlety of the response of the Irish people because we could have thrown a monumental tantrum - it just wouldn’t have made things any better.”
Bandmate Larry Mullen agreed added: “When the truth comes out, and it will, I think, Europe and the European banks - we’ll be astonished by what they did to Ireland.”
Bono also told the Sunday independent that U2 pay millions of Euros in tax in Ireland every year despite the criticism when they moved some of their tax affairs to Holland a number of years back.
He admitted: “We can understand why people, at first glance, get upset with U2 if they mistakenly think we don’t pay tax.
“We do. Millions of euro in Ireland. But isn’t it absurd if Ireland as a country can have a culture of tax competitiveness but Irish companies cannot?
“This doesn’t make sense, what also doesn’t make sense are abuses such as the so-called ‘Double Irish’, which is being phased out and rightly so.
“We have been misquoted as being in favour of it, we are not and never have been. It is also true to say that the 12.5pc corporate tax rate would mean nothing to the companies that have availed of it were it not for the talented, savvy workforce here.
“That is our greatest resource and that should be what gives us most pride. It’s rough out there and we need to be so smart to make it through even the next few years.”
Bono also told the paper that the only people whose opinion U2 really values are the fans.
He said: “We’re not politicians. We don’t need the popular vote. Our audience is a tiny minority. We just need to speak to them and they know through the songs who we are.”