IBEC today welcomed a definitive statement from the independent Referendum Commission that there are no changes in the Lisbon Treaty with regard to tax.
IBEC Director of EU and International Affairs Brendan Butler said: "The very clear message from the independent Referendum Commission is that the Lisbon Treaty in no way changes the powers of the EU in relation to tax. Over 30 leading business organisations in Ireland have already come out in favour of the Treaty because it actually clarifies the position on tax, and sets out in clearer terms than ever before the powers of the EU in this area. It is time for the issue to be finally laid to rest and for the debate to shift to matters that are actually part of the Treaty.”
Speaking today on RTE's News at 1pm following the official launch of the Referendum Commission's information campaign Chairman Mr Justice Iarfhlaith O'Neill, a High Court Judge, said: "Our considered view, having studied the matter in considerable depth, is that the existing situation will continue, that the veto that the state has on taxation matters will continue."
Asked specifically as to whether the Treaty gives the European Court of Justice any new powers to rule against Ireland's low corporate tax rate on the grounds of distortion of competition, Justice O'Neill was also definitive. He answered: "Our view is that the present position with regard to taxation continues."
The Referendum Commission has the responsibility to impartially inform the public on the provisions of the Treaty.