Opening Bell: Noonan defends Apple's Irish taxes, French air traffic staff strike again, Ma meets Obama

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Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan has again argued that Irish authorities did not give Apple a sweetheart tax deal.

Yesterday he said, "detailed and comprehensive responses have been provided to the EU Commission demonstrating that the appropriate amount of Irish tax was charged in accordance with the relevant legislation, that no selective advantage was given and that there was no State aid."

Brussels has requested additional information from Ireland on a number of occasions during recent months, a ruling in its tax probe had been expected during the second quarter of last year.

In a written response to Fianna Fáil's Michael McGrath he said, "This a priority matter and Ireland has co-operated fully with the process to date and will continue to do so."

If the EU concludes that Apple has been given unfair tax advantages it could be required to pay billions of euro in back-taxes to the Irish State.


Jack Ma, the founder of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, has held meetings with US president Barack Obama.

Leaving the White House Mr Ma, who is the richest man in China, said that the meeting had been "very good."

The meeting was not listed in Mr Obama's public schedule - Alibaba representatives have declined to comment on the nature of the talks.

The pair shared a stage at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation conference, where they discussed climate change and the role that governments and established businesses can play in supporting entrepreneurs.


Workplace Relations Commission talks aimed at ending Tesco's industrial dispute adjourned after 14 hours without agreement - further talks will take place on May 23rd.

Some 300 long-serving workers on pre-1996 contracts are unhappy with planned pay and roster changes.

Strikes had been planned at 70 Tesco stores on Monday - but this was postponed to facilitate the talks.


French air traffic controllers are on strike again today, for the fifth time in two months.

Ryanair says over 70 of its flights will be grounded - with delays expected to spill over into tomorrow.

They want the EU to take action to stop the disruption for airline passengers.

Ryanair spokesman Kenny Jacobs says one French union shouldn't be allowed to hold Europe's skies to ransom and that these work stoppages increase airfares: