Ireland cannot use the more than €14bn in disputed taxes it has collected from Apple, pending a European court appeal, to boost the economy in the fight against coronavirus, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said.
Apple is one of Ireland’s largest multinational employers with 6,000 workers and both it and the Government have gone to court to fight an EU order that the iPhone maker must pay the back taxes to Dublin.
Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald suggested that the State could reach “right this minute” into the escrow account where the funds are being held to pay for further income supports for workers.
“Mary Lou McDonald should know better, the Apple money is in an escrow account and that is where it is being held until the European Commission decides where that money is going to go,” said Mr Varadkar.
“The European courts will decide whether that money either belongs to Apple or comes to the Irish Revenue Commissioners and then has to be distributed out among the countries of Europe.
"It’s not ours to take and it’s now before the courts."
With the legal challenge expected to run for years, the NTMA has invested the disputed taxes in low-risk, highly rated euro-dominated bonds, mainly short- to medium-term sovereign securities.
The Government will introduce a significant financial package this week for those who have lost or are at risk of losing their jobs due to coronavirus.