Opening Bell: Apple and Ireland lose tax battle, eir wants end to rural obligation, TTIP not dead yet

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Ireland will today be ordered to recoup billions of euro in tax arrears from Apple.

The European Competition Commission is set to declare that the State allowed the tech giant to avoid corporate tax by agreeing a special 'sweetheart' tax deal.

Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager won't stipulate the amount of back tax to be paid, but will set down a formula to allow Revenue here to calculate the bill.

Both Ireland and Apple deny the claims and both have said they will appeal.

But in the meantime Ireland will be told to reassess Apple’s tax bill – which could see the technology giant hand over billions in taxes going back years.

That money will be kept to one side while the two parties appeal to the European courts.

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Eir is planning to challenge the law which requires it to provide rural phone services, according to the Irish Times.

The country's largest telecommunications company believes it should no longer be obliged to carry the cost of connecting loss-making rural lines due to the advent of broadband and mobile phone services.

A High Court claim is set to be filed in the coming days to overturn part of the universal social obligation (USO).
In a statement to the Irish Times, the company said:

“Eir has lodged an appeal in the High Court as we believe Ireland no longer needs a universal service provider for voice services given the commercial rollout of fibre already delivered, future plans for fibre rollout and mobile services in place."

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Supermac's is set to apply once again to build a "Barack Obama Plaza" styled motorway service area in County Clare, the Irish Independent reports.

Company founder Pat McDonagh confirmed yesterday that it will lodge plans for a motorway stop outside Ennis in the coming days.

An Bord Pleanála refused planning permission to McDonagh for a rest stop and drive-thru just off the motorway linking Limerick and Gort outside Ennis in July.

Last week, An Bord Pleanála rejected Applegreen's plans for a service near Dromoland Castle. The motorway currently has no service.

According to the Irish Independent, McDonagh said:

"There were a lot of disappointed people the last time we were refused, including ourselves, needless to say."

"We had local people ringing saying they were disappointed and we took huge encouragement from that. We're trying again and hopefully we will be more successful this time around."

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The European Union's ambassador to the United States has affirmed that the Transatlantic trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal is still being negotiated and will happen.

David O'Sullivan contradicted weekend comments from German economy minister Sigmar Gabriel suggesting that talks had "de facto failed" due to Europe rejecting Us demands.

At an Institute of International and Economic Affairs event on Monday, O'Sullivan said:

"We are continuing to work to see if this can be concluded this year with this administration...

"I do believe this deal will be done. It needs to be done."

O'Sullivan also rejected suggestions that TTIP would lead to lower standards in Europe, particularly in the food sector.