Monday 19 March 2018

Revealed: The nine multinationals that refused invitation to speak to politicians about tax rules

Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary. Photo: PA
Ryanair chief executive Michael O’Leary. Photo: PA
Wayne O'Connor

Wayne O'Connor

Ryanair was one of nine multinationals criticised after they refused an invitation to speak to politicians about corporation tax administration.

TDs complained that 'Mr Ryanair' - a reference to chief executive Michael O'Leary - has an opinion on everything else and bemoaned the fact he was unwilling to speak to them.

Members of the committee invited 10 multi-national firms operating in Ireland to come and speak to them about the Irish Revenue Commissioner's administration of corporation tax.

Kerry Group, CRH and Glanbia were the other Irish firms to decline the invitation.

American bankers JP Morgan and Citibank also turned down the request, along with Apple, Google and pharmaceutical giants Pfizer.

One company, GlaxoSmithKline, accepted the invitation - but members have decided to hold off on calling it to meet with them.

They are concerned that only speaking with one firm will not give a fair representation of multinationals' experiences of dealings with Revenue.

However, the committee members expressed their annoyance that Ryanair was unwilling to meet them.

Galway Independent TD Catherine Connolly said Michael O'Leary should have accepted the invitation to speak with them.

"I would have thought those Irish companies would have jumped at the chance to speak with us," she said.

"Mr Ryanair has an opinion on everything, including me as a cyclist, and I would have thought he would have jumped, or flown, to be here."

In a letter addressed to the clerk of the Public Accounts Committee, Mr O'Leary said he was too busy growing Ryanair's business and engaging in union recognition discussions with pilots, cabin crew and other groups to meet with the committee.

"I regret that we simply don't have the management resources to be able to address a Committee of the House on the subject of corporate tax but hope that your members will understand our predicament and accept our very sincere apologies," he wrote.

Apple was also criticised after it cited the ongoing appeal against a European Union order that the technology giant must pay up to €13bn in Irish back taxes.

PAC chairman Sean Fleming said this was despite the committee telling the company this case would not be discussed.

Irish Independent

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