Tuesday 25 July 2017

Apple not a 'brass plate company', says Kenny

Apple boss Tim Cook met Enda Kenny in California. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Apple boss Tim Cook met Enda Kenny in California. Photo: Niall Carson/PA Wire
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Taosieach Enda Kenny has made a strong defence of Ireland's relationship with Apple after meeting the tech giant's boss Tim Cook - saying it is not a "brass plate" company.

The pair discussed the European Commission's ruling that Ireland must seek €13bn in back taxes from Apple.

Mr Kenny said he spoke to Mr Cook about how Apple was working on setting up an escrow account where an as yet undetermined sum would be lodged while the legal battle surrounding the Commission's ruling continued.

But the Taoiseach emphasised Ireland's rejection of the commission's decision last summer that Apple's tax arrangements amounted to illegal state aid.

"We believe that to be wrong... We believe that we can only collect tax in respect of economic activity generated in the country," he said.

"Apple is not a brass plate. Obviously almost 6,000 employees in Cork, at a very high level, speaks for itself."

Ruling

Mr Kenny outlined how Ireland had already lodged its appeal against the ruling in a European court.

He added that Apple "are working on the escrow account. There are a number of issues to be worked out there and obviously they want to get on with that as we do as well."

Mr Kenny and Mr Cook met for more than half-an-hour at Apple's HQ in Cupertino, California. The Taoiseach said they also discussed the company's expansion in Cork and its data storage centre being developed in Athenry, Co Galway.

Mr Kenny said he had no concerns that the commission's ruling may threaten the tech giant's future in Ireland, adding: "Apple are very happy in Cork."

The ruling is set to be published in full by the European Commission in the coming weeks. It was withheld at the time of the announcement as parts were said to be commercially sensitive.

Mr Kenny was asked if he was worried there was anything in the full report that might damage Ireland's reputation.

He said he had not seen it, but added: "I don't have any reason to believe that there would be anything else in there that wasn't referred to or contained in the judgment of the commission."

Mr Kenny is on a three-day visit to the United States where his message is that "Ireland is very much open for business".

Last night he addressed members of the San Francisco Bay Area Economic Council at Facebook's Silicon Valley headquarters. He also met several Irish staff members that work for the social media firm.

Irish Independent

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