Sunday 4 December 2016

Dáil votes to support appeal against European Commission's ruling on €13bn Apple tax

Cormac McQuinn Political Correspondent

Published 07/09/2016 | 23:00

Finance minister Michael Noonan,TD and Paschal Donohoe,TD,the minister for Public Expenditure meet the media following the conclusion of the resumed Special Cabinet meeting at Government Buildings
Finance minister Michael Noonan,TD and Paschal Donohoe,TD,the minister for Public Expenditure meet the media following the conclusion of the resumed Special Cabinet meeting at Government Buildings

THE Dáil has voted to support a government motion seeking support for an appeal against the European Commission's ruling on Apple.

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The motion passed comfortably 93 votes to 36 with the support of Fianna Fáil.

Earlier Finance Minister Michael Noonan told the Dáil how he sought details of sum that the European Commission would demand that the State recover from Apple a week before the ruling was announced but the Competition Commissioner said she couldn't to tell him.

He outlined how Commissioner Margrethe Vestager warned him the previous Tuesday about the result of the aid investigation, but did not say exactly when she would announce the ruling.

Mr Noonan was responding to a question from Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin who asked why there was "secrecy" and "choreography" by the Commission "on such an enormous issue that's of sigificant importance to a member State."

"Does it suggest a rather contemptuous attitude on behalf of the Commissioner to the Irish government?" he asked.

Mr Noonan replied: "I was surprised by some elements of the announcement. That's true."

He said he had been expecting the decision to come in September at the earliest after the College of Commissioners had met.

But Mr Noonan outlined how Ms Vestager called him the week before the announcement and she explained that the other Commissioners would be notified by writing rather than at the meeting of the College.

"On the process she didn't give me the date or the time. She said it would be early next week and it'll be negative. I asked her for the ammount of money - "can't give you that figure - I'll announce  it in due course."

She announced on Tuesday August 30 that the sum that Ireland should seek in back taxes from Apple would be up to €13bn plus interest.

Mr Noonan said it was an "unexpected early announcement" but added that the preapratory work had been done in the Department of Finance.

"We were ready to go to government and look for a decision to appeal," he added.

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