Finance Minister Michael Noonan has reiterated that there is simply no question that the Irish authorities sought to give Apple any kind of special tax deal.
In a written Dáil response to Fianna Fáil finance spokesperson Michael McGrath, Mr Noonan said that “detailed and comprehensive responses have been provided to the EU Commission demonstrating that the appropriate amount of Irish tax was charged in accordance with the relevant legislation, that no selective advantage was given and that there was no State Aid”.
He added: “This a priority matter and Ireland has co-operated fully with the process to date and will continue to do so.
“I remain of the view that there was no breach of state aid rules in this case and that the legislative provisions were correctly applied.
“In the event that the commission forms the view that there was state aid, Ireland is entitled to challenge this decision in the European Courts.
“As the Government has already indicated, we will take that course of action, if necessary, to continue to vigorously defend the Irish position.”
In June 2014, the Competition Directorate of the European Commission announced its intention to open formal state aid investigations into tax rulings provided to a number of companies in various EU member states.
In his reply to Mr McGrath, Mr Noonan said: “Since October 2015, investigations in three other member states have concluded.
“In each of these cases the commission found that the member states granted an illegal state aid to the companies in question.”
In two of the cases, the European Commission announced that tax advantages granted to Fiat in Luxembourg and to Starbucks in the Netherlands were illegal.
“I would like to emphasise that, while the commission has opened a formal investigation in relation to one particular case involving Ireland, it has not made a final determination in the matter.
“There is no formal timeline for and when the final decision will be made in our case.”
Earlier this year, the Department of Finance confirmed that it was charged almost €300,000 in legal fees last year to fight the European Commission’s state aid investigation involving Apple.
Figures provided by the department show that €151,691 had to be paid to UK barrister Philip Baker.
Smaller amounts of some €55,052 and €89,184 were due for work by Irish barristers Aoife Goodman and Maurice G Collins, respectively.
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