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Merkel backs Ireland in Apple showdown

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Finance Minister Michael Noonan. Photo: Frank McGrath

Finance Minister Michael Noonan. Photo: Frank McGrath

Finance Minister Michael Noonan. Photo: Frank McGrath

Angela Merkel has expressed fears the €13bn Apple tax ruling will hurt investment in Europe, putting her on the same side as Ireland in a looming showdown over the limits of national sovereignty and the rights of the federally minded European Commission.

She is understood to be taking particular issue with the retroactive nature of the ruling - which seeks payment of €13bn in taxes dating back over a decade and based on standards and rules introduced later.

And, three days after the European Commission ruled that Apple was given a sweetheart deal worth €13bn, the Government here has gone on the offensive.

In an unprecedented assault on Europe, Finance Minister Michael Noonan and Taoiseach Enda Kenny both suggested that Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager's judgment was driven by jealousy.

"There are people still of the same view that Ireland is doing too well in terms of investment and that would like to change the 12.5pc (corporation tax rate)," Mr Noonan said.

"And I would like to say to international investors and to the Irish people that there will be no change in our 12.5pc."

Outlining plans to appeal the Apple ruling, Mr Noonan said: "We'll reinforce the attractiveness of Ireland."

Cabinet agreement on an appeal came after intense talks involving Children's Minister Katherine Zappone and the Independent Alliance.

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