Dáil debate: Taoiseach calls Apple tax ruling 'profoundly wrong and damaging'

Motion to appeal EU Commission decision expected to pass with Fianna Fáil and Labour support

Dáil debate: Taoiseach calls Apple tax ruling 'profoundly wrong and damaging'

Image: RollingNews.ie

Taoiseach Enda Kenny has described the European Commission ruling ordering Apple to pay Ireland up to €13 billion in back taxes as "profoundly wrong and damaging". 

A motion to appeal the decision is expected to be passed later tonight, with the support of Fianna Fáil and Labour.

Mr Kenny told the Dáil that the Government objected to attempts to restrict Ireland from "making policies for our own people". 

"Governments over the years have made clear, as this Government has, that Ireland did not and does not do deals with corporates, large or small.  It is not how we do business," he said. 

In contrast, TDs from Sinn Féin, the Social Democrats, the Anti-Austerity Alliance and the Green Party have strongly backed the EU ruling.

Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty said Ireland should be claiming the money.

"This is our money ... The €13 billion relates to €104 billion of profits generated by the Irish branches of Irish-incorporated companies that have not been taxed anywhere in the world."

Green Party leader Eamon Ryan told the Dáil: "We will not move on from it by aiming all our guns at Brussels or at the rest of Europe and pretending we are as white as the driven snow."

But Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said such an attitude would see other companies leave Ireland.

"It is a clear and present threat to Irish workers in the private sector and the funding they generate for services on which we all rely," he said. 

Richard Boyd-Barrett of People Before Profit, meanwhile, claimed Ireland was facilitating tax evasion.

"Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and the Labour Party closed ranks to protect the interests of one of the wealthiest multinationals in the world which is engaged in massive tax evasion and was using this country as a base for that tax evasion," he said. 

The vote takes place at 8:30pm tonight. Watch live coverage here: