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Saturday 3 December 2016

'No threat to Irish jobs from USA', says Noonan

Michael Noonan met Donald Trump when he visited in 2014
Michael Noonan met Donald Trump when he visited in 2014

Finance Minister Michael Noonan has indicated he has no fears of multi-national companies leaving Ireland in the wake of Donald Trump's election as US President.

Key figures in Mr Trump's team have indicated lowering corporation tax by up to 20pc in order to compete with Ireland will be a priority after he takes office in January.

However, Mr Noonan, who is on a trade mission in the US, said none of the business leaders he has met have expressed a desire to relocate.

The minister has not requested a meeting with the president-elect but has met with a series of high-level diplomats in Washington.

He described a meeting with US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew as "very good".

Projects

"For the next three days, I'll be meeting people in the IT industry for discussions. Most of them will have projects in Ireland - Amazon, Facebook, Intel and Apple and all the others," he told the Limerick Leader.

Asked whether Irish jobs could be under threat if the US drops corporation tax from 35pc to 15pc, Mr Noonan said: "No, that's not being expressed here at all."

The minister said it was up to the American people to decide their president.

"I'm dealing with the present administration. I've had no contact with him [Mr Trump] at all and didn't look for contact with him," he said. "My trip wasn't related to the election, it was arranged after Brexit. The trip is more of a follow-up to Brexit than anything else."

Mr Noonan's US trip is a prelude to a similar one scheduled by Taoiseach Enda Kenny later this month.

He will visit New York and San Francisco but a spokesperson said that "at present" there are no plans for talks with Mr Trump.

This comes as management at Mr Trump's hotel in Doonbeg, Co Clare, said they are anticipating the incoming president will visit during his tenure.

Speaking to Newstalk radio, golf pro at Trump Doonbeg Brian Shaw said: "I would be very surprised if he didn't - very, very surprised... I would be shocked if he didn't make it over."

Meanwhile, Siptu has authorised ballots by union members for industrial and possible strike action on public service pay.

The decision followed a meeting of the National Executive Council (NEC) at Liberty Hall yesterday.

Officials wrote that, over the past year, Siptu and other unions have urged the Government to open negotiations on the Lansdowne Road Agreement to "accelerate" pay restoration.

"As of this date, the Government has refused to do so," they wrote.

Balloting is to begin on Thursday, December 1.

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