Calls have been made for a public inquiry to examine who facilitated the State’s “sweetheart deal” with Apple.
Opposition parties have rounded on the Government for refusing to accept an EU ruling that the multinational, with operations in Cork, owes the State €13bn in unpaid taxes.
Social Democrat TD Catherine Murphy said while SMEs, which employ seven out of every 10 people in the private sector, struggled throughout the downturn, many going to the wall, this multinational giant is paying the bare minimum in tax.
“It would be totally intolerable for the Irish State to challenge this ruling by the European Commission,” she said.
She said the €13bn equates to almost our entire annual health budget or the total intake from the universal social charge for three years: “There was no special treatment for the Irish people and indigenous Irish enterprise when the economic bubble burst. At the same time as Minister Noonan was telling the people to brace themselves for economic turbulence Apple was benefiting from this deal.”
Sinn Féin finance spokesman Pearse Doherty said the Government’s decision to appeal this ruling should be put to a vote in the Dáil and his party will be bringing forward a motion to oppose such an appeal.
He pointed out that Finance Minister Michael Noonan and his Government do not want “a penny” back despite the fact “the amount of money that Apple owes us today as a result of this commission ruling is the equivalent of the annual health budget”.
The Green Party said the Government should not appeal what it described as an “incredibly thorough” ruling. The Social Democrats said the ruling highlights the “double standards” which exist in Ireland towards multinationals and indigenous business.
Fianna Fáil said it is still examining the decision.
The Fianna Fáil finance spokesman Michael McGrath TD said the commission’s decision on Apple had the potential to create very serious issues for the country and required careful study. “There are many outstanding questions, which remain unanswered. The European courts may be the only place where clarity on these issues will be found,” he said.
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