The craggy and wind-swept Aran Islands, found 10 miles off of the west coast of Ireland, could soon join the Cayman Islands as a shining, tax-free haven. With a declining population, a higher cost of living, and a remoteness from lifestyle treats like movie theaters, a proposal to go tax free could encourage folks to come back.
One local thinks it's a lucky charm of an idea: "There are a lot of disadvantages because of distances and cost of living and travel — but this tax plan could be the reason for people to return here. And, for any island, even to get one family [back] home — it makes a huge difference."
Extra dough to spend could mean the survival of local culture and heritage, like this Aran Islands' family, seen here in 1969. The proposal being considered in Dublin would let Aran Islands residents earn up to $158,000, tax free, and give tax breaks to businesses — the deal could be a boon to the islands' 3,000 residents.
While a break from taxes sounds like finding a pot of gold, of course, there's a catch. To see what,
One local with the coolest name ever, Padraigin Clancy, says:
I feel very strongly that the people of the Aran Islands, the same as every other member of the Republic of Ireland, should pay their taxes. We benefit from all kinds of grants from Dublin and from Europe and I don't think we deserve a free lunch. What would happen here is that the people here would benefit to a point and, after that, we would get people coming in with no social conscience, not wanting to pay tax, putting their yachts here. And I would hate that to happen. The poverty of Ireland should be dealt with before people on the Aran Islands get benefits.
That could be the dark lining of the silver cloud. With the government in Dublin now deciding on the tax-haven plan — do you think it's a good idea? Should struggling or unique communities get a pass from paying taxes? Are you moving there now?