Ireland's European Commissioner Phil Hogan has strongly backed Brussels in its €13bn tax ruling against Apple.
The former Fine Gael Cabinet minister and key ally of Taoiseach Enda Kenny confirmed he supported the finding of illegal state aid being granted to Apple.
The development came as a furious behind-the-scenes row broke out between the Department of Finance and the Taoiseach's office over who is to blame for the Government's ham-fisted response to the crisis.
In his first public comment on the issue, Mr Hogan, who is European Commissioner for Agriculture, said all 28 Commission members supported the decision. Speaking to the Irish Independent, Mr Hogan said it was a collegiate decision made by the Commission.
"It was approved by all 28 Commissioners. It will be appealed by the company involved, and perhaps by the Irish Government, if that is what they decide. Given these pending EU court proceedings I can make no further comment," he said.
Mr Hogan's appointment to the biggest job in the Taoiseach's gift was seen as a reward for taking unpopular decisions around water charges.
Today, Finance Minister Michael Noonan will present a memo to Cabinet aimed at addressing Independent ministers' concerns around appealing the decision and supporting a drive for tax fairness and transparency.
The EU decision to force Apple to pay €13bn in back-taxes is a misuse of state aid rules and raises serious questions about the rule of law in Europe, according to a blistering intervention by former European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes.
Media & Marketing
It was broadcast just once -on January 22, 1984 - during a break in that year's Super Bowl, but Apple's commercial to introduce its new Macintosh computer is still regarded by many industry insiders as the greatest television ad ever made. It is certainly one of the most fabled.