Put on the green jersey
Put on the green jersey, or green jersey agenda, is an Irish phrase to represent putting the national interest first. The phrase can be used in a positive sense (e.g. supporting Irish teams or causes), but can also used in a negative sense (e.g. the national interest as an excuse for improper action or obfuscation of facts). In this context it can appear with another term, Ireland Inc. The origin of the term relates to the colour of Irish team jerseys.
While the term is used in a range of contexts, it is most common to see it used in a pejorative sense, and to describe taking face saving actions (or cover-ups), over unveiling the facts. In this context, it is often used in relation to political situations and the choice between protecting Ireland's international reputation versus the need for public disclosure. The term is invoked frequently in such a manner during debates in the Irish Dáil Éireann (a search of Dáil Éireann debates lists over 400 instances), where opposition members sometimes claim face saving measures are for an incumbent Government's reputation, and not the national interest.
The term can be invoked by an incumbent Government looking for support from opposition parties for a particular course of action on which there is no consensus. In November 2018, the Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was criticised by opposition parties for invoking the Green Jersey in relation to Brexit negotiations, and other matters.
Irish financial crisis
During State prosecutions of the Irish banking crisis (2014–2018), the derived term green jersey agenda was used to imply that Irish bank CEOs and the Irish State (Department of Finance, Financial Regulator, and the Central Bank), colluded to advocate the build up of credit during the Celtic Tiger period, and then covered up the scale of financial leverage when the banking system began to collapse in 2008. In one particular State prosecution, the Irish Times reported how the State unsuccessfully sought to have the jury prevented from hearing evidence regarding a "green jersey agenda". In 2010, the Economic Adjustment Programme for Ireland introduced reforms to the Central Bank of Ireland to counter the "green jersey agenda", some of which have eroded. In January 2019, lawyers for jailed Irish financial services executive, Denis Casey, appealed his conviction at the Supreme Court of Ireland stating: "he authorised the transactions on the basis the regulator was fully aware of them and they were encouraged as part of the "green jersey agenda" involving Irish banks supporting each other during the financial crisis".
Corporate tax haven
Irish and International commentators have used the term "green jersey" in relation to Ireland's corporation tax regime, and to imply that Ireland's status as a corporate tax haven is due to a close relationship between the Irish State (the Revenue and the Department of Finance) and IFSC professional services firms, to aid U.S. multinational tax schemes. In this regard, the term implies a closing of the ranks and a culture of secrecy (even likened to omerta). The Central Statistics Office's obfuscation of Apple's BEPS transaction in Q1 2015 (see leprechaun economics), is one example.[failed verification] Another example was the reaction of Finance Minister, Michael Noonan on being alerted to a new IP–based BEPS tool (called "Single Malt") that was replacing the "Double Irish" tax scheme (which was closed in 2015 after EU pressure). Irish historian Diarmaid Ferriter used the term Team Ireland to describe denials by the Irish State of research showing Ireland is the world's largest corporate tax haven.
Apple's post Q1 2015 BEPS tax structure in Ireland was labeled the "Green Jersey" by the EU Parliament's GUE–NGL alliance (in this case Jersey referring to the British Crown dependency of Jersey, rather than the garment).
"Green jersey" can appear with the term Ireland Inc., which refers to Ireland behaving like a single company (and taking commercial decisions ahead of other decisions such as social, ethical, or risk). In this context, the term is most often invoked when refuting criticism of Ireland Inc. This was considered to be a factor in the lack of challenge and debate around the extreme build-up of leverage in the Celtic Tiger era (and for which the independent Irish Fiscal Advisory Council was created).
A cited example was when Irish businessman Denis O'Brien, who develops Irish real estate, said in 2018 that the Dublin office market was in a “bubble”, which the Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, publicly refuted that day, from the world economic forum in Davos. Another example were the 2017 U.S. corporate tax reforms (i.e. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, or TCJA). Ireland has a high reliance on U.S. corporates (80% of Irish tax, 25% of Irish labour, 25 of top 50 Irish firms, and 57% of Irish value-add). IFSC tax-law firms, and the Irish State's enterprise-body IDA Ireland, dismiss them as material risks; however, non-Irish experts disagree.
He said the Irish economy won't cope with radical changes to international tax rules, which will dent our attractiveness to multinationals. The dire warning of a massive threat to our economy is contained in a hard-hitting new book from the former head of the IMF's mission to Ireland. "Without its low-tax regime, Ireland will find it hard to sustain economic momentum," he said.
The term (and its derived terms), are also invoked as a call to put different interests aside in favour of taking a positive course of action for the Irish national interest. During the 2019 FAI controversies regarding CEO John Delaney, the term was invoked to overhaul the FAI's governance. In the 2019 European elections, it was invoked to show Ireland's commitment to Europe and rejection of a Brexit agenda. In April 2019, Irish European Commissioner, Phil Hogan, was quoted as describing Europe's support for Ireland's agenda in the Brexit negotiations as "wearing a green jersey".
- "This was a cosy culture of common purpose in which the imperative was to keep the boom going, with the government chivvying businessmen to “pull on the green jersey”. Politics was a catalyst of the crisis, not a restraint.” Financial Times, commenting in 2010 on the origins of the Irish financial crisis under the former Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern's administration.
- "The two phrases that summed up the fatuity of Fianna Fáil–led governments under Bertie Ahern and Brian Cowen were (a) “pull on the green jersey” and (b) “talking down the economy”. Acclaimed Irish journalist, Fintan O'Toole, commenting in 2012 on why Ireland failed to anticipate the severe property crash of 2009–2012
- "Tánaiste Gilmore has been accused of “hypocrisy” and “amnesia” following his comments to the opposition parties that they should “put on the green jersey” and support the government in its negotiations with the Troika." Irish Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore, asking Irish opposition parties in 2012 to accept proposals of the Troika.
- "He said he was motivated to do this because of his understanding of a request from Pat Neary, the Chief Executive of the Financial Regulator, and the Central Bank governor John Hurley, for the Irish banks to support each other, a so-called "green jersey" agenda". The 2016 trial of ex. Permanent TSB CEO Denis Casey on his authorisation of €7 billion in loans to support Anglo Irish Bank.
- "I think I pulled on the green jersey in order to compromise in relation to, and agreeing to, an appeal for different reasons, but so that we could move into an era of tax justice." Irish Minister, Katherine Zappone, on RTE news as to why she voted to appeal the €13 billion fine against Apple, despite being a supporter of tax justice.
- "But before we all pull on the green Apple jersey, let’s stop and think about what we’re doing and what we’re saying about ourselves to the world." Acclaimed Irish journalist, Fintan O'Toole, commenting on Ireland's decision in 2016 on whether to appeal the EU's €13 billion fine against Apple, which would be paid to Ireland.
- Mr Grehan [Senior Counsel for David Drumm] said Mr Drumm answered Ireland's call when it came, donned the green jersey, and did not desert his post at Anglo Irish Bank." The 2018 trial of Anglo Irish Bank CEO David Drumm on his actions as the Irish banking crisis began to unfurl.
- “System failures, administrative errors, endless reviews and prevarications, lost records, putting on the green jersey, alleged lack of resources – all these things have been used to justify wrongdoing. No longer.” Taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, in 2017 defending a no-confidence motion regarding the Garda whistleblower scandal.
- "When [MEP] Matt Carthy put that to the Minister's predecessor, (Michael Noonan), his response was that this was very unpatriotic and he should wear the green jersey." TD Pearse Doherty, Sinn Fein Deputy Leader, noting in 2017, Finance Minister Michael Noonan's response to being told the "single malt" had replaced "double Irish", the largest tax avoidance tool in history, in a Dail Eireann debate.
- "Government wins confidence motion by five votes". The Irish Times. 15 February 2017. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 4 June 2018.
Leo Varadkar. System failures, administrative errors, endless reviews and prevarications, lost records, putting on the green jersey, alleged lack of resources – all these things have been used to justify wrongdoing. No longer.
- "Michael Lowry 'involved in elaborate charade to conceal financial transaction', court hears". Irish Independent. 10 November 2014. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
Michael Lowry's complaints in respect of an alleged abuse of process could be interpreted as "an attempt to give a nod and wink to the court to 'put on the green jersey'" by not allowing the prosecution to proceed.
- "Free speech and the Green Jersey agenda". Karl Whelan, Professor of Economics, University College Dublin. 19 October 2009. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
[The Ulster Bank economist Pat McArdle said that] Freedom of speech is fine and we’re all in favour of it. But there are sometimes when you have to temper things in the greater interest.
- "We need a banks tribunal — not another FF smoke-and-mirrors job". The Irish Examiner. 21 January 2010. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
I also suspect this “support the green jersey” approach will be put forward as part of an argument that public exposure of their shortcomings, especially if illegality was involved, would be counterproductive to the national interest as it could make our borrowing more difficult to conduct, and impact on the performance of the International Financial Services Centre.
- "Irish Minister's green jersey deserves to unravel". The Times U.K. 18 November 2017. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
- "Dail Eireann Oireachtas Debates: Search". Archived from the original on 2018-08-26. Retrieved 2018-06-02.
- Philip Ryan (7 November 2018). "Taoiseach under fire for 'green jersey' demands in Brexit talks". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 9 November 2018. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
- Daniel McConnell (2 February 2019). "Who will put a stop to Leo's hard-line tactics?". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
The ‘green jersey’ agenda is alive again and in full swing. Ten years ago, it was called upon in a bid to salvage our bust banks.
- "Irish banks were "pulling on the green jersey" during financial crisis, trial told". Courts News Ireland. 10 February 2016. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
A former Anglo Irish Bank director has told the trial of four senior bankers accused of conspiring to mislead investors that there was a “green jersey agenda” which involved banks working together to help each other out during the financial turmoil of 2008.
- "Ireland jails three top bankers over 2008 banking meltdown". Reuters. 29 July 2016. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
Lawyers for the accused argued during the trial that their motivation in authorizing the deal was the “green jersey” agenda, the financial regulator’s request for Irish banks to support one another as the financial crisis worsened.
- Cliff Taylor (11 July 2016). "The green jersey merchants haven't gone away". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
The Ireland Inc. creed continues to frown upon straight discussion of anything that might be seen to not be in the ‘national interest’. We heard a lot about the “green jersey” agenda during the Anglo trial, which finished during the week. It is the name given to the drive to protect the financial system as the crisis hit, taking in the government, Civil Service, regulators, banks and beyond.
- "Put on the green jersey: Ireland's bank bust broke all the records". The Irish Independent. 1 July 2012. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
- Pearlstein, Steven (2013-08-16). "Can Ireland's Celtic Tiger roar again?". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Archived from the original on 2018-06-12. Retrieved 2018-06-08.
In a new book, “The Fall of the Celtic Tiger,” economists Donal Donovan and Antoin Murphy look beyond the property bubble and the bank meltdown and argue that the root cause of the crisis was “the absence of sufficient questioning and internal debate” within a political, economic and media establishment too easily prone to “wearing of the green jersey."
- "Anglo verdict: Prosecution wanted 'green jersey' agenda removed". The Irish Times. 9 June 2016. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
Judge ruled that it would not be right or practical to try to stop the Jury hearing about the "green jersey agenda".
- Tim Healy (18 January 2019). "Ex-bank chief 'should have been allowed green jersey defence' in €7.2bn fraud trial, appeal told". Irish Independent. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
- Oireachtas Record (23 November 2017). "Dáil Éireann debate - Thursday, 23 Nov 2017". House of the Oireachtas. Archived from the original on 16 April 2019. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
Pearse Doherty: It was interesting that when [MEP] Matt Carthy put that to the Minister's predecessor (Michael Noonan), his response was that this was very unpatriotic and he should wear the green jersey. That was the former Minister's response to the fact there is a major loophole, whether intentional or unintentional, in our tax code that has allowed large companies to continue to use the double Irish [called single malt]
- "How Ireland became an offshore financial centre". Nicholas Shaxson, Tax Justice Network. 11 November 2015. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
The willingness to brush dirt under the carpet to support the financial sector, and an equating of these policies with patriotism (sometimes known in Ireland as the Green Jersey agenda,) contributed to the remarkable regulatory laxity with massive impacts in other nations (as well as in Ireland itself) as global financial firms sought an escape from financial regulation in Dublin.
- "Former Regulator says Irish politicians mindless of IFSC risks in "green jersey" agenda". The Irish Times. 5 March 2018. Archived from the original on 2 June 2018. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
- "Colum Kenny: Paddy doesn't know the half of it". The Irish Times. 9 September 2016. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
Bertie Ahern says he didn't know about Apple. The "Revenue Commissioners act within hard walls", says Bertie. I pulled on the Green Jersey, the one they keep wanting you to wear to cover Ireland's political and corporate embarrassments.
- "Why we shouldn't take sides against our own country in public". Irish Independent. 12 February 2012. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
"Omerta", or as we say in Ireland "wearing the green jersey".
- "Enda Kenny warns continued 'loose talk on taxation is damaging our country'". Irish Independent. February 2016. Archived from the original on 2018-06-12. Retrieved 2018-06-02.
Everybody needs to be mindful of the green jersey.
- "Irish Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor: 'Tax haven' tag is as bad as 'leprechaun economics' for insults to our reputation". Irish Independent. 9 September 2016. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
We all need to get behind the green jersey on this issue.
- "Tax Avoidance and the Irish Balance of Payments". Brad Setser, Council on Foreign Relations. 25 April 2018. Archived from the original on 28 April 2018. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
- "Diarmaid Ferriter: Semantics and Ireland's tax status Department of Finance persists in denying Ireland is world's biggest tax haven". 16 June 2018. Archived from the original on 16 June 2018. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
Despite such developments, "Team Ireland" has constantly dismissed the description of Ireland as a tax haven, even when the extent of that haven is patently obvious.
- "Ireland is the world's biggest corporate 'tax haven', say academics". Irish Times. 13 June 2018. Archived from the original on 24 August 2018. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
Study claims State shelters more multinational profits than the entire Caribbean
- "Apple's Irish Tax Deals". European United Left–Nordic Green Left. June 2018. Archived from the original on 2018-07-14. Retrieved 2018-07-20.
- "New Report on Apple's New Irish Tax Structure". Tax Justice Network. June 2018. Archived from the original on 2018-07-02. Retrieved 2018-07-20.
- "Commercial office bubble rising". Stephen Donnelly. November 2016. Archived from the original on 2018-06-12. Retrieved 2018-06-08.
- "Tax breaks for commercial property will fuel bubble". Irish Independent. 6 November 2016. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
- Cliff Taylor (10 February 2016). "Anglo case hears of 'green jersey agenda' at the banks". Irish Times. Archived from the original on 11 February 2016. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
Matt Cullen, the former director of treasury at Anglo, agreed that the genesis of the email was about how banks could help each other out and that this was a case of “pulling on the green jersey”. “This was Ireland Inc.,” Mr Cullen said, adding that Mr Drumm was talking to CEOs of the other banks.
- Mark Paul (22 February 2019). "Are 'digital gangsters' damaging Ireland Inc's reputation?". Irish Times. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
- "How bankers brought Ireland to its knees". The Financial Times. 15 May 2010. Archived from the original on 8 June 2018. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
- "Flash the red card to 'green jersey' politics". The Irish Times. 24 January 2012. Archived from the original on 9 November 2018. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
- "'Irish commercial property is a bubble. I actually think we're overbuilding offices' – O'Brien". Irish Independent. 25 January 2018. Archived from the original on 25 January 2018. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
- "Davos: Varadkar disagrees with O'Brien over Dublin office bubble". Irish Times. 25 January 2018.
- "The US Tax Reform Impact in Ireland: Game-changer or Business as Usual?". Matheson (law firm). 8 March 2018. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
The TCJA is unlikely to be considered as a game-changer for international business in Ireland and it may well be a case of business as usual.
- "Despite Trump's ire, Ireland expects to avoid any pain from U.S. tax overhaul". Washington Post. 13 December 2017. Archived from the original on 25 June 2018. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
Martin Shanahan, chief executive of IDA Ireland, the government agency tasked with securing foreign investment, said that American companies are being guided by market principles, "trying to acquire talent, trying to build global teams." The GOP tax plan "would leave companies free to use the capital wherever they want it."
- "Ireland does not see big investment impact from US tax changes". Reuters. 4 January 2018. Archived from the original on 14 June 2018. Retrieved 16 June 2018.
That may mean that there are some marginal calls where a company decides to stay in the U.S. rather than come to Europe,” IDA Ireland chief executive Martin Shanahan told a news conference. “But does it signal a significant change from an Irish perspective? I don’t believe so. I can tell you, sitting here today, that I expect the next couple of months to be strong in terms of investment.
- Mihir A. Desai (26 December 2017). "Breaking Down the New U.S. Corporate Tax Law". Harvard Business Review. Archived from the original on 22 July 2018. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
So, if you think about a lot of technology companies that are housed in Ireland and have massive operations there, they’re not going to maybe need those in the same way, and those can be relocated back to the U.S.
- Gavin McLaughlin (31 August 2018). "US tech firm leaves Ireland for US after Trump tax cuts". Irish Independent. Archived from the original on 25 September 2018. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
- "European Commission in fresh warning on Irish corporation tax base". Irish Times. 8 November 2018. Archived from the original on 8 November 2018. Retrieved 9 November 2018.
“Ireland’s economic outlook is subject to significant uncertainties related, inter alia, to changes in the international taxation and trade environment,” it said. The impact of Brexit and Donald Trump’s tax reforms in the US are viewed as the chief threats to headline growth.
- "Warning that Ireland faces huge economic threat over corporate tax reliance – Troika chief Mody says country won't be able to cope with changes to tax regime". Irish Independent. 9 June 2018. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 9 June 2018.
- Mark Paul (29 March 2019). "Better corporate governance would be worthy green jersey agenda". Irish Times. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
- Christina Finn (4 May 2019). "Fine Gael European election candidate says May vote can send 'green jersey' message to Brexiteers". TheJournal.ie. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
- Fiachra Ó Cionnaith (6 April 2019). "EU agriculture commissioner: No border 'under any circumstances'". Irish Examiner. Retrieved 19 May 2019.
Mr Hogan, in Kerry yesterday, said Taoiseach Leo Varadkar’s meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Angela Merkel show the EU is “wearing the green jersey” and that will not change.
- "KATHERINE ZAPPONE "I pulled on the green jersey in order to compromise in relation to an appeal."". RTE News. 5 September 2016. Archived from the original on 27 May 2018. Retrieved 2 June 2018.
- "Gilmore accused of hypocrisy over 'green jersey' remarks". journal.ie. 20 January 2012. Archived from the original on 12 June 2018. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
- "Bank chief authorised Anglo loan because of 'green jersey agenda'". The Irish Times. 3 May 2016. Archived from the original on 9 November 2018. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
- "Fintan O'Toole: We will hurt only ourselves by appealing Apple ruling". The Irish Times. 6 September 2016. Archived from the original on 2 May 2017. Retrieved 1 June 2018.
- "David Drumm 'donned the green jersey' during financial crash". The Irish Times. 25 May 2018. Archived from the original on 1 June 2018. Retrieved 2 June 2018.