The Independent Alliance have held a meeting with Finance Minister Michael Noonan ahead of an European Commission ruling on Ireland’s tax regime.
The European Commission is set to rule today that Ireland’s tax arrangement with Apple amounted to state aid and the multi-national must pay billions in back-tax. However, Fine Gael have said that they would immediately appeal such a decision.
Members of the Independent Alliance met yesterday before holding a meeting with Mr Noonan during which they raised a number of concerns and demanded he answer key questions on the issue. They are now due to meet the minister again today to seek these answers.
It is understood that members of the Independent Alliance were extremely angered by comments made by junior Finance Minister Eoghan Murphy over the weekend.
Mr Murphy told RTÉ that Fine Gael do not believe that any State aid was provided to Apple.
He added that the Government would be appealing any such decision despite the fact that Ireland would be set to receive anywhere between €8bn and €19bn, in back-tax as a result of the ruling.
“It’s in the national interest that we defend our international reputation in this regard,” Mr Murphy said.
However, members of the Independent Alliance were incensed their government partners had announced they would be appealing the EU decision without consulting them on the matter.
After the meeting, a spokesperson for the alliance said they would waiting for the commission statement later today before commenting.
It is understood Fianna Fáil would back Fine Gael in appealing any negative decision.
Fianna Fáil’s finance spokesman Michael McGrath yesterday said his party would not be taking a final decision until the ruling is made public, but hinted strongly that they would support an appeal
Speaking on RTÉ’s Sean O’Rourke Show, he said: “This is a real operation, but the question is have they been treated fairly and consistently with other companies in relation to Ireland’s corporation tax.
“We have been reassured so far that they have, so that remains our position and we will read the report very carefully and the Irish Government response.”
But Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty yesterday said the Government should rule out an appeal if the commission rules that Ireland provided illegal state aid to Apple and that the correct tax bill should be imposed on the company.
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