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[T]he hardest place in the world for what we try and pull off as U2 . . . is the U.K., where the arts and politics are very separate. -- Bono

Tanaiste invites Bono for chat about tax

Irish Independent

TANAISTE Eamon Gilmore has invited Bono to drop into his constituency office if he wants to discuss the Government's tax policy.

The U2 frontman has given his most comprehensive defence of the band's controversial decision to move their business overseas to legitimately avoid paying tax.

Labour Party rebel TDs yesterday called on U2 to pay all their taxes in Ireland.

But Bono says the band's stance is in line with the government policy on "tax competitiveness". He dismissed the critics of the band's policy as "the cranky left".

Backed up by her Labour colleagues Patrick Nulty and Tommy Broughan, Roisin Shortall said she welcomed the involvement of Bono and U2 on development aid.

"But, you know, I think it's only fair that they should pay their taxes in the country that they are living and where they are from," she said.

Ms Shortall said it did undermine Bono's authority "to some extent" on campaigning issues, particularly when the country is going through such difficulties.

"Everybody needs to put their shoulder to the wheel in terms of bringing Ireland back to recovery and it would be great to see U2 and Bono playing their full part in that," she added.

As he lives in Killiney, Bono is a constituent of Mr Gilmore's in Dun Laoghaire.

When asked if he agreed with his constituent's views on where his company pays its tax, Mr Gilmore ducked the question.

But he did appear to invite Bono in to talk about tax policy, if he wanted to discuss the issue.

"No constituent has come into my constituency clinic to express the views or to put on my table the issue that you have just raised with me.

"And if they did I wouldn't talk about it in public anyway because it has always been my practice not to talk about the individual tax matters of individual taxpayers and I think that is the view of the Revenue Commissioners.

"If any of my constituents want to talk to me about their tax matters or tax matters relating to their company, my constituency address is 47a Patrick Street, Dun Laoghaire, and I don't believe it's too far from any of the constituents you might be thinking about," he said.

Bono's mansion, Temple Hill, on Vico Road in Killiney is just five kilometres away from Mr Gilmore's constituency office.

Jobs Minister Richard Bruton refused to comment on U2's tax affairs.

"Suffice it to say Ireland has a transparent tax code that applies universally and it is kosher in terms of the way it's structured," he said.

"I am not going to comment on individual companies or their tax affairs."

(c) Irish Independent, 2013.