Ireland will not be 'global tax collector' - Donohoe
Ireland is being told to operate as "a global tax collector" by the European Commission, Public Expenditure Minister Paschal Donohoe has said.
Defending the decision to appeal the EC's ruling that Apple must pay €13bn in back taxes, Mr Donohoe told the Irish Independent there is "no pot of gold".
He said the Government would put "the most strongly resourced team that is possible" to fight the case through the European Courts of Justice.
And Mr Donohoe said that, regardless of the outcome, there was "no prospect" of the State getting "a gigantic" windfall.
"The way the European Commission has framed all of this is that they have invited other European governments to see if they believe they are entitled to a share of €13bn, which of course governments all over Europe and in the OECD are likely to do," he said.
"We will be mounting a very, very firm and strong defence of our corporation tax code, the Revenue Commissioner and the way in which we retain investment in Ireland."
Asked about the EC's judgment that Ireland failed to provide any justification for our tax treatment of Apple, Mr Donohoe said: "The European Commission is going to make that determination anyhow because they disagreed with us. We're now in a different space. We're in a legal space. We're going into the ECJ."
Children's Minister Katherine Zappone, who came close to quitting her job in Cabinet over the Government's response to the case, said other countries should be trying to get some of the €13bn.
"I hope that many of the countries that didn't get their fair share of tax because of the way in which we operated in the past have an opportunity to go into a court room and to be able to put that argument in an open and a transparent way," she said. While stating her view that tax arrangements made with multinational companies in Ireland in the past were "unethical", Ms Zappone does back the Government's appeal.
Fianna Fáil's finance spokesman Michael McGrath said his party was supportive of the Government's position.
"The two tax rulings, issued in January 1991 and May 2007 by the Irish Revenue Commissioners, which are at the heart of this action by the European Commission did not, in our opinion, confer upon Apple or its subsidiaries, special tax treatment which was not available to other companies," he said.