'Foreign firms won't leave if Ireland takes Apple €13bn'
Ireland should remain an attractive location for multinationals even if the State was to ultimately take up to €13bn in taxes from Apple, global ratings agency Fitch has said.
The risk of increased uncertainty over Ireland's attraction to global businesses, potentially damaging foreign direct investment and employment, is "limited", Fitch said. But it said the ruling could add to the uncertainty surrounding the Brexit vote, which it believes will hit exports and investment. It also expressed concern that divisions within the Coalition "have become more evident".
Fitch said that if upheld, the ruling from the European Commission would represent a "one-off fiscal windfall for Ireland", and could speed up the improvement in Ireland's public debt position if used to pay down debt or reduce borrowing.
"It's possible that any such benefit would be partly offset by increased uncertainty over Ireland's attraction to global businesses potentially damaging FDI and employment," Fitch said in a note.
"We think this risk is limited. Ireland's low 12.5pc corporate tax rate, and its high human development and governance indicators should keep the business environment attractive to multinationals, and the costs of relocating would be large."
Meanwhile, Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O'Connor said the Government has "a very strong case" against the EU on Apple, ahead of meetings with European officials in Brussels yesterday.
She also said that the fracas between Fine Gael and Independent ministers over the appeal had not had a lasting effect on the Coalition, and that she was "confident" they would be able to agree on Budget 2017.