Monday 24 October 2016

'This finding does not stand by a small country' - Taoiseach launches scathing attack on EU Apple tax decision

Published 07/09/2016 | 11:41

Tim Cook, Apple CEO, and Enda Kenny
Tim Cook, Apple CEO, and Enda Kenny

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has launched a scathing attack on the EU decision on the Apple Corporation’s €13bn bill for back taxes.

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In a special Dáil debate Mr Kenny called on all TDs, of all parties, to back the country’s opposition to last week’s controversial Brussels finding which is to be appealed to the EU Courts.

Mr Kenny said the ruling eight days ago was a reverse to economic development and job creation – in Ireland and all across the European Union.

After a three-year probe, the EU executive said Ireland’s tax treatment of Apple, which employs some 6,000 people here, amounted to illegal state aid. The Brussels Commission said Ireland must collect €13bn in back tax, to be put in a holding account pending a court appeal.

The Government has already decided to the appeal the controversial ruling – but TDs have returned specially to Dáil Éireann today for a 10-hour debate on the issue, scheduled to end with a vote at 8pm.

The Taoiseach insisted that Ireland never did a special tax deal with Apple. He said the country had long sought overseas industrial investment to overcome economic disadvantages and create jobs.

The 12.5pc company tax rate was an important part of that strategy, backed up by a young, educated population and proximity to a 500 million EU market.

The Taoiseach said 187,000 people were directly employed by multi-national companies which supported one in five Irish jobs either directly or indirectly. “Each job represents a lifeline to individuals and families and provides money to be spent in local communities,” Mr Kenny added.

“This is not a Commission finding which stands by a small country,” the Taoiseach added.

Mr Kenny argued that the ruling damaged the potential to create jobs – not just in Ireland but across the European Union. He also argued that it undermined international efforts to tackle problems in corporate tax for multinationals.

“That deserves an international response,” the Taoiseach added.

Fianna Fáil is backing the Fine Gael-led minority Coalition on the issue and their spokesman, Michael McGrath, said a Court appeal must be lodged to the Commission ruling.  He said it would be naïve to try to take and keep the €13bn in Apple back taxes and the Commission finding had many in-built contradictions.

But Sinn Féin, the Anti Austerity Alliance-People Before Profit, and the Green Party, have opposed the appeal decision.

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