Apple boss Cook holds meeting with Kenny in Cork

Chief executive makes surprise visit to Apple’s Irish campus

Barry Roche

Apple boss Tim Cook held a meeting with Taoiseach Enda Kenny during a surprise visit to the company's Cork campus.

The two met for 30 minutes after which Mr Kenny said he had discussed the issue of corporation tax with Mr Cook and re-assured him that Ireland operated "a very transparent, statutory based rate of 12.5 per cent" and that would continue.

“I also made the point that the change announced in the budget by the Minster for Finance in terms of statelessness and companies, I pointed out to Tim Cook that Ireland as a member of the European Union is participating in the OECD discussions on this issue.


“These discussions which are taking place are about an international response in terms of clarity about the tax position - there are 15 different sectors involved in that and Ireland is participating in them all,” said Mr Kenny.

“My point is that our rate is 12.5 per cent and we don’t do specific deals with companies and clearly the company themselves are always in contact with the revenue commissioners about any changes in structures that they may wish to discuss with the revenue commissioners.”

Asked if he had any concerns about Apple’s alleged use of the so called “Double Irish” mechanism to effectively reduce their tax bill to an effective 2 per cent tax rate at its Irish affiliates, Mr Kenny re-iterated that Ireland had done no special deals with Apple.

“At a European Council meeting last year, there was a very clear agreement around the European Council table that the issue of corporates being involved in different jurisdictions requires an international response.

“And that is why the OECD have taken the lead in working with countries to produce an international response that provides clarity and transparency for everybody and Ireland is participating in that.”

Apple employs 4,000 at its Cork operation, making it one the State’s biggest employers, and recently completed a new facility there to support the company’s growing business across Europe.

Mr Cook, who replaced company founder Steve Jobs in 2011, is understood to have had spoken to Mr Kenny about the company future plans for its Irish operation.

According to Mr Kenny, the Apple CEO is very pleased with the productivity and contribution of Apple’s Cork plant to the corporation’s overall performance.

“Tim Cook said he was extremely happy with the outcome, the productivity and the energy coming off the potential of the workers here in Cork ... we discussed the operations of Apple worldwide and clearly there are number of markets which are growing very rapidly.

“And so from that point of view, it’s a matter for Apple but for now, they are very happy with the new extension, very happy with the range and spectrum covered by the workforce here and they are exceptionally happy with their outcome and productivity.

Mr Cook had earlier flown in from Luton Airport on a private jet, arriving in Cork at 8.30am before being whisked by executive mini-bus to the Hollyhill plant and he later flew out again back to Luton by private jet from Cork Airport at around 3pm.