Government to tell Brussels ‘back off’ from Ireland's 'tax affairs'

The Government will stress that Ireland’s tax affairs are nothing to do with Brussels during a Dáil debate on the €13bn Apple’s tax ruling and that the European Commission must back off.

The issue is set for a 10-hour debate and vote tomorrow. Fianna Fáil last night said it would not seek amendments to the Government motion but other parties will want changes.

Government sources said the debate would be used to send a clear message from Taoiseach Enda Kenny and others to Brussels: “The Taoiseach and ministers will emphasise there have been no broken laws. There will be a recommitment to the 12.5% [corporation tax rate] and a message to Europe that this is none of your business and to back off,” said a Cabinet source.

The Government-led debate will support the decision to appeal the European Commission’s decision that Ireland provided unlawful state aid to Apple. TDs will also emphasise Ireland’s commitment to the “highest international standards” in transparency in taxing corporations. Ministers will also say no company receives preferential tax treatment.

Fianna Fáil said it would seek no changes to the Government debate. Sinn Féin, however, will call into question Ireland’s stance.

Finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said he would question why the 150-page EU judgement was not being published.

There are also questions over whether Revenue informed the Government about the Apple deal and if other companies now also owe unpaid tax to Ireland.

Social Democrats TD Catherine Murphy said the idea of having the debate without the judgement was “outrageous”. Ministers say the EU will decide when to release the ruling.

Meanwhile, Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor, after visiting officials yesterday in Brussels, hit out at the decision on Apple’s tax affairs, saying it would not affect our low corporate tax rate.


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