Independent Deputy, Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran, and his Independent Alliance colleagues have backed the Government’s decision to appeal the European Commission’s ruling that Ireland provided unlawful State aid to Apple.
The Alliance joins Labour and Fianna Fáil in supporting the Government’s appeal. Speaking late last week, Deputy Moran outlined the Alliance’s support of the Government’s motion to appeal: “We have been carefully examining the entirety of Apple’s tax treatment to ensure that any decision reached is in the best interests of this country over the long term,” he said. “The integrity of the tax system and to provide tax certainty to business is also paramount.
“The Independent Alliance has been working with Fine Gael, our partners in Government, to deliver a decision that takes into account all of our concerns. I feel that the motion being put before the Dáil will succeed in addressing our key concerns.”
Deputy Moran also revealed that the Government has agreed to a review of Ireland’s corporation tax system by an independent expert to be appointed by the Minister for Finance. The review will not include the 12.5 per cent rate.
“The agreement reflects the Independent Alliance’s approach of greater scrutiny of major decisions and the need to place accountability and transparency at the heart of government decision-making,” Deputy Moran added.
The Dáil resumed business three weeks ahead of schedule on Tuesday this week to determine the level of support for such an appeal.
Addressing the House, Taoiseach Enda Kenny urged a united front on the issue: “This House has an opportunity to send a strong message that we stand together in challenging the presentation that the Commission has made, and that we are all determined that Ireland should continue to be at the forefront in efforts to improve and reform the international tax system,” he said.
He added that the ruling paints an image of Ireland as a country “prepared to play fast and loose with the law to gain unfair advantage”, an impression he said “cannot be allowed to stand”.
Minister for Finance, Michael Noonan, said the Government was appealing to defend the integrity of Ireland’s tax system and to challenge the encroachment of EU state aid rules into the tax affairs of a sovereign Member State. He told Deputies the decision will have consequences, including possibly affecting how Ireland is treated in tax treaties by other jurisdictions, and damaging the country’s credibility in the international debate on tax.
Sinn Féin, People Before Profit, Anti Austerity, The Green Party, and Social Democrats have spoken out against the decision to appeal.
Sinn Féin Spokesman on Finance, Pearse Doherty, told the Dáil that Ireland’s dealings with Apple represented the “very definition” of State aid offering one company special treatment before others.
The Government has admitted that the appeals failure would mean the Government having to accept the European Commissions ruling. A paper released by the Department of Finance said the Revenue Commissioner is obliged to collect the €13 billion sum. However, the money will be put into an escrow account and returned to Apple if the appeal is successful.