Bono says U2’s tax avoidance policy is ‘in total harmony with the Irish government’s philosophy’
MORE epic stuff from Bono, aka Mr G21. U2’s lead singer tells Tim Adams in yesterday’s Observer about tax and moving his money out of Ireland:
Tim Adams: “The other persistent criticism is about the band’s decision to offshore part of their income through the Netherlands to avoid tax. Was it not hypocrisy for you to try to hold the Irish government to account for its spending while going through fairly exhaustive efforts to avoid paying into the Irish exchequer yourself?”
Bono: “It is not an intellectually rigorous position unless you understand that at the heart of the Irish economy has always been the philosophy of tax competitiveness. Tax competitiveness has taken our country out of poverty. People in the revenue accept that if you engage in that policy then some people are going to go out, and some people are coming in. It has been a successful policy. On the cranky left that is very annoying, I can see that. But tax competitiveness is why Ireland has stayed afloat. When the Germans tried to impose a different tax regime on the country in exchange for a bailout, the taoiseach said they would rather not have the bailout. So U2 is in total harmony with our government’s philosophy.”
Adams: “But surely you have given up some authority in doing so. Was it worth it?
Bono: “I think for many reasons people have taken a dislike to our band and to me. This is another one. I have worked as an activist for all my adult life, and I think overall that no one can doubt we have been pretty effective. You can criticise me for a lot of things, but probably not for my commitment of time and energy to this. I think some of the people who criticise us in Ireland and America have a history that you can trace back to our opposition to Noraid. A lot of the others probably hate our music. And a lot of other people probably have a point…”