IRELAND is 100pc committed to our 12.5pc corporation tax rate, Finance Minister Michael Noonan has reiterated.
Just days after the rate came under renewed criticism from Germany, Mr Noonan defiantly declared in his Budget speech that it would not be changing.
"The tax rate is settled policy," he said.
The low rate was attacked amid a political row in Germany over the formation of a new government.
Chancellor Angela Merkel is being held to ransom by the country's biggest opposition party, which insists it will only form a coalition if she forces Taoiseach Enda Kenny to hike our corporation tax – a move which would threaten tens of thousands of jobs here. Mr Noonan sent out a clear message yesterday that the Government will not be pressured on the 12.5pc rate, which has long been a cornerstone of Irish economic policy.
Foreign companies supported by the IDA created more than 12,000 new jobs in 2012 and employed 152,785 people here last year.
Most of these companies have come to Ireland, in part at least, because of the 12.5pc corporation tax rate.
It is not the first time that Ireland's relatively low corporation tax has angered politicians elsewhere in Europe.
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy regularly criticised the tax rate, saying it was unfair. But the criticisms haven't been repeated by his successor, Francois Hollande.
Mr Noonan said he would continue to examine ways in which Ireland can ensure its corporation tax regime remains competitive.