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Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore stands firm on our corporation tax rate

TANAISTE Eamon Gilmore has insisted Ireland will not budge on its corporation tax rate despite suggestions from Europe it could be put back on the agenda.

The Labour leader shot down hints that the comparatively low 12.5pc rate was up for debate in a sign of solidarity as the eurozone scrambles to stitch a growth stimulus package into the fiscal treaty.

"As far as Ireland is concerned, our rate of corporation tax is established, it's not going to change," Mr Gilmore said.

The long-running debate resurfaced when an advisor for new French president Francois Hollande, who has pushed for the treaty to be amended to include growth measures, said France may promote a harmonised rate of corporation tax across Europe.

Elsewhere, finance minister Michael Noonan told a breakfast briefing with Bloomberg news agency that a No vote in the May 31 treaty referendum would be a dangerous leap in the dark that Irish citizens should not take.

The Tanaiste said Ireland should stick to its rate to provide certainty to potential investors and to ensure growth in the domestic economy.

"We don't intend to change our position in relation to our corporation tax - that's absolutely firm," he said.

"We have to provide certainty to investors by being clear that our rate of corporation tax is not changing and also indeed by passing the stability treaty, so that they have confidence in the euro and confidence in Ireland."

Mr Hollande's advisor Phillippe Aghion said that the new president, who was sworn in yesterday, would seek harmonisation across the board - in corporation tax and financial and banking regulation.

He told Newstalk that Mr Hollande expected solidarity from members of the eurozone that had signed up to the fiscal treaty.

Mr Hollande's predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy made continuous calls for Ireland to raise its corporation tax to be in line with the rest of Europe.

The Tanaiste said he was not surprised Mr Hollande was likely to make a similar appeal.

At the Bloomberg Ireland Economic summit in Dublin, Mr Noonan was asked his thoughts on how a Greek departure from the euro might impact on Ireland.

The minister drew laughter from the invited audience with his analysis of the limited economic links between Ireland and Greece and wider connections.

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"Apart from the Greek islands, I think most Irish people do not have a lot ... if you go into the shops here, apart from feta cheese, how many Greek items do you put in your basket?" he said.

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