At the end of the day, all of these companies basically play places that are desperate for jobs and investment off each other and extract maximum subsidies.
I remember seeing a documentary about Amazon in the UK and their Welsh warehouse had received subsidies to setup in terms of laying out a red carpet of facilities and infrastructure to support it. The same company was basically wiping out large sections of the retail economy in the UK, none of which was receiving supports.
You've car plants in cities that desperately needed investment that were incentivised by tax breaks, free facilities, you name it.... red carpet rolled out. These are super wealthy companies in many cases that do not need state aid.
Budget airlines approach small cities' airports and basically get those cities and regions to help market their products.
Add in all the European "national champions" who were state aided and subsides for no reason other than national pride was being injured or there were threats to loss of employment.
Then throw in the banking industry which was basically state aided to the tune of hundreds of billions, if not trillions when you add it all up. The banks just pretty much put a gun to the head of every state with a threat of financial armageddon if they weren't bailed out and they were 'too big to fail' and so on.
The list is endless and it happens all over the world.
The same business lobbyists tend to bemoan social welfare and public expenditure yet they're all in receipt of huge handouts, often to the determent of other businesses that play entirely by the visible rules and don't have the lobbying power or scale to come up with these complicated structures.
As states and regions and cities, we're being played. It's as simple as that.
One could even argue the City of London is being played as banks mould it to suit their needs, not its citizens'. New York is being played, the US government is being played.
All of these companies have us by the short and curlies and states simply aren't as powerful as they used to be. The balance has tipped towards corporates and it is getting worse and worse as time goes on and more power is consolidated in richer, and richer companies.
Ireland's not the bad guy here, it's a country that had a dire need for investment to create jobs. So, did "whatever it takes" to get those and that clearly included ensuring that this company paid ludicrously low tax.
We're all competing to try and lour investors and and are being rewarded with the right to work there and earn money, which generates tax and economic activity. The profits however are simply not being taxed.
The effective tax rates across Europe will tell you a completely different story to the headline corporate tax rates. Everyone's talking out of both sides of their mouths when it comes to this topic. Even high tax countries like France have effective rates of corporation tax that are really surprisingly low.