JOBS Minister Richard Bruton has said that Ireland “makes no apology” for the low tax regime that encourages multi-national corporations like Google to locate their European headquarters here.
Mr Bruton was responding to criticism of the search engine giant in Britain over their policy of paying most of their corporation tax here despite having multi-billion pound sales in the UK.
He was speaking at a conference for start-up businesses where he announced that Dragons Den TV star Sean O’Sullivan would chair a new government forum on Entrepreneurship.
Google’s head of sales in Northern Europe, Matt Brittin was hauled before MPs at the House of Commons Public Accounts committee yesterday and challenged on how it paid just £6m in tax in the UK in 2011 despite boasting sales of £3.2bn.
Google’s UK transactions are routed through its Dublin headquarters allowing the company to take advantage of Ireland’s low rate of corporation tax.
Asked about the inferred criticism of the Irish tax regime by those MPs challenging Google, Mr Bruton said: “Ireland will make no apology for having a low tax regime.
“It has always been a low tax regime and we need to create employment and international companies employ over 150,000 people in Ireland.
Mr Bruton continued: “Of course the interaction of tax codes in different countries can create environments where people choose the way they manage their business.
But from an Irish point of view we want to have a regime where taxes on profits are low, taxes on employment are low and companies can come here to start and grow businesses so we make no apologies for that.
“It’s for other countries obviously to manage their own regimes”, he added.
The minister announced the creation of a new Government Entrepreneurship Forum with American businessman and venture capitalist, Mr O’Sullivan as its chair.
Along with the rest of the forum - which Mr Bruton said will be “fleshed out” at a later date with people with the “necessary experience” – Mr O’Sullivan will contribute to a National Entrepreneurship Policy Statement to be published by the end of the year.
The minister said he was also launching a public consultation inviting interested parties to make submissions prior to the publication of the document.
Commenting on his appointment Mr O’Sullivan, who has featured as a ‘dragon’ on the RTE business-oriented reality TV show in recent years, said that entrepreneurship was “a kind of magic that impacts the entire economy”.