Apple tax windfall-out: Politicans and business groups moblise to defend Ireland's reputation

The ruling has focused international attention on the finer details of Ireland's tax system...

Irish political parties and business bodies have been keen to air their opposition to the European Commission's ruling that Apple was given a 'sweetheart' tax deal.

Speaking to Bloomberg, Finance Minister Michael Noonan described the ruling as "invalid" before reiterating that Ireland will appeal against the findings.

Earlier in a statement, his department outlined its position on the payments: "Ireland’s position remains that the full amount of tax was paid in this case and no State aid was provided.  Ireland did not give favourable tax treatment to Apple. Ireland does not do deals with taxpayers."

Mr Noonan added, "The decision leaves me with no choice but to seek Cabinet approval to appeal the decision before the European Courts.  This is necessary to defend the integrity of our tax system; to provide tax certainty to business; and to challenge the encroachment of EU state aid rules into the sovereign Member State competence of taxation."

 

Fianna Fáil finance spokesperson Michael McGrath said that this ruling is part of a broader power struggle - he declared that there is, "no doubt that as a country we find ourselves in the middle of a wider strategic clash between the US and Europe."

In a statement from The Labour Patry, Brendan Howlin requested a detailed briefing on the findings for opposition parties, saying:

"The headlines circulating the globe today undoubtedly have implications for our national reputation in the short term - a reputation that we have worked might and mane to repair over recent years."

"We must be very cautious about automatically accepting any ruling that could be regarded as an effort by the European Commission to determine Ireland’s tax policy by the back door," he added.

Both parties stressed that the ruling needs to be closely examined before being accepted or rejected.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty called for a public inquiry:

"Today’s ruling has shocked even those of us who have been watching this issue with a keen eye. Up to €13billion of tax has been lost as a result of a sweetheart deal with Apple. That is a massive amount of money and we must have a public inquiry to establish who facilitated this deal."

PA

"Given the state is chasing people who have not paid their water charges through the courts it is unimaginable that the government will appeal this ruling," he continued.

Business Interests 

The IDA's Chief Executive Martin Shanahan said, “Ireland’s position has not changed – we do not do tax deals, and it’s simply untrue and a gross mischaracterisation of our taxation regime to say otherwise.”

He added that he believes that this will not compromise Ireland's attractiveness as a country to do business in:

"This decision does not impact on Ireland’s value proposition and I believe that Ireland will continue to win investment and, in that light, we welcome Apple’s restated commitment to Ireland today building on its significant presence here."

Business group IBEC has issued a statement endorsing the Governments plans to appeal the decision.

IBEC Director of Policy Fergal O'Brien said, "Government is right to appeal this decision. It is a landmark ruling, which if left unchallenged would have significant reputational implications for Ireland. It is important for all businesses, multinational and indigenous, that Ireland's tax system is, and is seen to be, transparent and equitable."

Apple CEO Tim Cook rejected the findings and accused the European Commission of, "proposing to replace Irish tax laws with a view of what the Commission thinks the law should have been."

"This would strike a devastating blow to the sovereignty of EU member states over their own tax matters, and to the principle of certainty of law in Europe. Ireland has said they plan to appeal the Commission’s ruling and Apple will do the same. We are confident that the Commission’s order will be reversed," he continued.