As Irish people, we are often much better at fighting our corner than patting ourselves on the back.
'Self-praise is no praise' as the saying goes.
Historically we were the victims of a foreign oppressor and our path towards self-governance and a modern global society we made for ourselves has been less than smooth.
There are plenty of gaps in many parts of our public service today.
But as a place of business, we are among the world's best and we need to say so - out loud and internationally. I say this not just because we have to secure future investments, but because the perception that we are merely a low-tax country is incorrect and is wrong to leave unchallenged.
The Commission's verdict and handling of the Apple case allowed Ireland to be painted in the international press as a mere tax haven and repeat the line 'Leprechaun economics'. Even Joseph Stiglitz accused us of taking other people's money.
We are a country that makes real goods and provides real services - whether it's medical devices, pharma products, infant milk powder, microchips or fintech software, to name just a few. As a nation last year, industrial production amounted to €115bn along with exporting €121bn worth of services. If all this was because of low corporation tax, why are medical device companies not flocking to the Cayman Islands or Bermuda? It is because our economic model is based first on people and skills. Efficient access to markets is extremely important, as is being English-speaking, in the eurozone and politically stable. But it's about people first.
To allow the Commission decision go unchallenged would do a massive disservice to our education system. We churn out many bright minds that are being snapped up by industry. Yes, this pipeline needs to be sustained, but Irish workers are renowned for being hard-working, flexible, innovative and efficient. It is those workers and graduates who are the key driver of our economic offering. So let's not get complacent on that.
Our corporate taxation offering is competitive, but even more important than that - its major advantage is its certainty. Businesses and investors like certainty over costs - especially over those for which they do not have direct control. Being certain about taxation means they can apply energy to managing other costs and business obstacles that arise. In no way should we apologise for this or seek to jeopardise it, but it is secondary to having the best and brightest minds in the world work on adding value to a product or service.
Taxation is not a function of the EU institutions. In fact, had the Revenue Commissioners attempted to tax Apple for €13bn over that 25-year period - such an action would have been in breach of Irish law and likely be struck down by the courts as that economic activity did not occur in Ireland.
Furthermore, the Commission doesn't even know who the €13bn is owed to, so we can't spend money we don't have. We've been there before, with disastrous results.
I am happy to accept that the issue of how Apple or any other company is able to legally avoid tax through complex financial arrangements should be tackled. But it requires an international effort which Ireland can lead on, as we have done already.
But it's wrong to lay that entire problem at Ireland's door and say Ireland must collect all the tax owed to all jurisdictions in Europe.
FDI companies account for 15pc of all employment and export €130bn worth of goods and services - about one in six Irish jobs is dependent on it. That's 187,000 people directly employed and almost as many indirectly employed - often by Irish firms servicing or supplying foreign companies. FDI companies contribute significantly and support innovation across our economy. They represent the potential pipeline of employment for our children and grandchildren. So yes, it is incumbent on us to protect our reputation, and we will. Therefore, we cannot allow the fallout from this Commission decision to hamper our ongoing efforts to win more foreign direct investment for Ireland. The ruling has the potential to cast a cloud over our reputation as a legitimate home for international business. It has the potential to create uncertainty.
Uncertainty frightens investors and delays investment.
We have a responsibility to robustly contest the Commission's decision, not only because it's in our self-interest, but because it's the right thing to do. We must do so while we develop the skill-set to service a growing technological economy. We cannot rely on our taxation rates alone to drive our economic offering. It must continue to be about people.
But we do have a reputation to protect. There is a legal appeal to be fought on the complexities of tax policies, but we have an international reputation to uphold also.
Fighting our corner and patting ourselves on the back is something we may have to become good at.
Mary Mitchell O'Connor is Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation