Saturday 24 March 2018

Kenny warns continued 'loose talk on taxation is damaging our country'

Enda Kenny said firms may be put off investing in Ireland Picture: AP/Olivier Matthys
Enda Kenny said firms may be put off investing in Ireland Picture: AP/Olivier Matthys

Sarah Collins

The Taoiseach has rigorously defended the 12.5pc corporate tax rate and hit back at reports Ireland could be in for further EU tax probes.

He warned that "loose talk" about taxation in Ireland was potentially damaging in the face of the Brexit threat.

"Ireland will obviously debate these things constructively but to be clear about it, our 12.5pc corporate tax rate is not up for grabs," Mr Kenny said.

"It's always been 12-and-a-half and it will remain so."

It came amid reports that the European Commission has not ruled out examining 300 more of Ireland's tax rulings.

Mr Kenny said talk about further EU state aid investigations coming down the line, after Apple, was damaging to the Irish economy.

"The commission have never stated that there are other impending state aid cases against Ireland and to suggest otherwise is mischievous, is misleading, and is wrong," he said.

"And that type of loose talk is potentially very damaging to our country. It does impact upon companies looking - particularly given the Brexit situation - as to where they might want to invest."

Divorce talks between the EU and UK will be "very tough" when they get going next year, the Taoiseach said.

Brexit rhetoric has ramped up in recent weeks after British Prime Minister Theresa May hinted at cutting trade ties with the EU if she is not allowed to impose migration curbs.

But she struck a more conciliatory note at the Brussels meeting, saying the Britain wanted a "mature, co-operative relationship" with the EU and to trade freely with the bloc.

However, in a further sign European institutions are struggling to sustain a coherent policy agenda, Canada's trade minister walked out of talks in Belgium. He said the EU is "incapable" of sealing a planned free trade deal.

All 28 EU governments support the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) aimed at strengthening trade ties to Canada and which took seven years to agree. But a complex process means regional governments in Belgium must also back the deal.

Irish Independent

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