The USA’s new ambassador to Ireland has claimed he is the happiest American alive.
Kevin O’Malley had told Irish radio’s most listened to weekend show that he is the envy of every Irish-American back in the US.
Speaking to Marian Finucane on state broadcaster RTE, O’Malley said it is a ‘thrill’ to be back in Ireland over a hundred years after his grandparents left for Chicago.
The Dublin-based website TheJournal.ie reports on O’Malley’s first four days in Ireland as American ambassador and his interview with the popular Finucane.
He said: “I am the luckiest guy in the United States. On Wednesday, as I stood on steps of your president’s home, looking over at the front of my new home, as they played my national anthem, it was everything I could do thinking of my grandparents and their courage and my Mom and Dad and their dedication, it was everything I could do not to tear up and cry, it was a very emotional experience for me.”
Quizzed about his priorities in the job and the recent controversy over Irish tax loop holes for American corporations, O’Malley defended his country’s position.
He stated the priority on top of his list is growing business between the countries was top.But asked the ‘double Irish; tax code, he said he did not agree that it is just the US that facilitates it.
When it was put to him that Ireland has taken a lot of criticism over tax avoidance of big US companies and that it is US tax laws that facilitates this, not Irish law, he denied the allegation.
O’Malley said: “I don’t agree with that. I do admit that US tax laws are very complex and should be looked at.
“When the tax codes were introduced for Ireland, the US and all the other countries there was little thought of the global economy.
“It is a totally different world than it was 50 years ago, where now Irish companies have partner companies in the US and other countries.
“We have to try and find some way to balance that out.”
O’Malley added that one of his priorities as US ambassador will be to encourage business links between the two countries.
He added: “The issue of tax will be a subset issue that will be looked at.
“President Obama and the US Government are for any business that has real business activity, that creates real business jobs for real people.
“However President Obama is vigilant for brass plate financial transactions that just shift tax responsibility.”