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Following a similar consultation process as took place in the UK, the Irish Government gave several reasons for reaching the same conclusion. They argued that:

• Failure to do so would greatly increase the number of sales liable to ARR in Ireland, thus placing further pressure on already stretched operational systems in Irish art houses and auction rooms.
• The extension would allow time to resolve some of the practical difficulties which have arisen in the implementation of ARR.

• The initial derogation was intended to provide time for the Union to reach an international agreement creating a level playing field between competing global market centres; to date, this has not happened and further time is required in this respect.

• An extension of the derogation would allow additional time for a thorough assessment to be made by the Commission of the Directive and its effects on both the internal EU art market and on external competition.

• In the light of the decision by the United Kingdom to avail of the extension, and given the close links between the Irish and British art markets, it is important that the same time frame be applied between the two areas in order to avoid creating a new distortion of trade and loss of business to Irish art houses, particularly against the backdrop of the current difficult economic situation.

By Ivan Macquisten