The Government will today hold a second emergency Cabinet meeting in 72 hours over the Apple controversy.
Ministers still have three options.
Since the European Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager, announced on Tuesday that a three-year investigation has found Apple owes this State €13bn in unpaid tax, Fine Gael has been completely opposed to accepting the money.
Instead, it wants to appeal the decision in the European courts due to fears that to do otherwise would risk multi-national jobs and mean this country is accepting its tax system is questionable at best.
Both the Independent Alliance and unaligned minister Katherine Zappone are reluctant to agree, meaning it is unlikely to happen.
The Independent Alliance want this move and believes it is the best way to resolve the Cabinet crisis.
Under the option, an official wording of a motion to appeal the ruling will be agreed by cabinet today before it is sent to the Dáil to be voted on next week.
This will allow Fine Gael to get its way — due to the make-up of the Dáil a vote will be a rubber-stamping exercise — while giving the Independent Alliance to claim it is standing up for its core pre-election principle of giving ultimate power back to parliament and not cabinet.
Again, the Independent Alliance — and in particular John Halligan — was pushing for this to take place, with Shane Ross and Kevin Moran meeting with Finance Minister Michael Noonan on the issue last night.
In addition to giving Fine Gael its way while officially giving the impression of parliamentary power, a review of other multinationals’ tax bills would allow Alliance members still uncomfortable with turning down €13bn to claim a moral victory. Or, in political speak, cover from an angry support base backlash.
In this minority government world, such an option is always on the table.
Should a deal fail to be struck on a united government position in response to the Apple crisis, the Coalition may seek to postpone its decision again in the hope of resolving the matter and avoiding a snap second election caused by at least one minister resigning from power.
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