Thursday, November 27, 2008

Is Lisburn the new New York?

Until the dollar strengthened, Irish shoppers used to travel in droves to New York for Christmas shopping. New York City would advertise on train station walls in Dublin. Now, foreign shoppers in New York are more scarce. So, where does it make sense for Irish shoppers to shop now? The answer is to stay in Ireland, and shop up north to take advantage of the weak Pound and (relatively) strong Euro, in places like Lisburn.

It is interesting to see Brian Lenihan from the Dublin government complain that “When you shop in Northern Ireland, you’re paying Her Majesty’s taxes, you’re not paying taxes to the state that you live in”, because I don't remember any complaints about Irish people saying US taxes when they would leave Ireland to shop in droves in New York (in fact, most were paying no taxes at all, since many goods could be bought tax free by foreigners if brought home immediately).

This is one of the contradictions of Irish partition. Fianna Fail is a party committed to Ireland being a single country, not partitioned into two, but by encouraging people to shop in just one part of Ireland (the expensive part), you are enforcing partition.

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