EU Commissioner Phil Hogan has said he is "not surprised" that Ireland is to press ahead with an appeal over €13bn Apple taxes, writes Noel Baker of the Irish Examiner.
However, Mr Hogan said that, as far he was concerned, the decision published last week by the European Commission was based on facts, not politics.
Commissioner Hogan also said he had never been briefed by Department of Finance officials about any elements of Apple's tax arrangements while he was a government Minister.
Speaking in Skibbereen at an event at the Ludgate Hub, the Commissioner said the issue would now be resolved in court.
His comments came after European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker had also stressed that last week's ruling was fact-based and not politically motivated, but also after the chief executive of the IDA, Martin Shanahan, said it placed Ireland in the position of collector-general for the world, and that this was unhelpful.
"It's not about sympathy, it's about facts," Commissioner Hogan said.
"It's a very difficult decision and I am not surprised that the Irish government has appealed the decision."
He also rejected any suggestion that the wrangle was damaging to cohesion within Europe, claiming he took such views with "a grain of salt".
As for the appeal on the Apple tax decision he said: "Hopefully it will be resolved as quickly as possible."