EC’s Apple tax ruling will not endanger Government - Coveney

Minister confident Cabinet to reach consensus on potential appeal over ruling on Friday

 Minister for Housing Simon Coveney described the European Commission’s ruling on Apple’s tax liability as “very, very flawed” and  said “essentially what they are doing is retrospectively changing tax law”. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

Minister for Housing Simon Coveney described the European Commission’s ruling on Apple’s tax liability as “very, very flawed” and said “essentially what they are doing is retrospectively changing tax law”. File photograph: Gareth Chaney/Collins

 

Simon Coveney has said he does not believe the European Commission’s ruling on Apple’s tax liability will endanger the Government.

The Minister for Housing said he is confident the Cabinet would reach a consensus regarding a potential appeal over the ruling on Friday.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has signalled his wish to appeal the controversial €13 billion back-tax ruling, and Mr Coveney said a number of the Independent Ministers required time to consider the details.

“I think it is right that the Ministers that needed a bit more time got a bit more time and I am hopeful that we will be able to get consensus tomorrow,” he said.

“Some members of Cabinet just want a bit of time to get their head around it. They want a bit of time to look at the opinion that has come from the Commission and to get a full and detailed response from Minister Noonan and the Department of Finance, and from the Attorney General for that matter, as to why we should be appealing.”

Appearance of an impasse

Talks were continuing today on what had the appearance of an impasse between both sides of Cabinet, after the Independent Alliance refused to commit to an appeal against the ruling.

A failure to back the appeal has threatened the stability of the Government and carries the prospect of another general election.

Playing this down on Thursday however, the Minister for Housing said he did not believe such an outcome would come to pass.

“If you listen to the Independent Alliance, they have said that while they need time to consider this issue they also don’t want to destabilise the Government,” he said.

Relations between Fine Gael and the Independents were “pretty good”, he said.

“This was a genuine discussion, a detailed discussion, where people wanted to understand the basis for appealing this decision and they wanted to be sure that they were comfortable with that.”

Describing the Commission’s view as “very, very flawed”, he said “essentially what they are doing is retrospectively changing tax law”.

Ireland, he continued, was committed to the ongoing debate on corporate taxation within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), but that the Commission’s position represented the potential for a “very dangerous precedent for Ireland”.