Kenny to oppose common euro area corporate tax rate


Taoiseach Enda Kenny has tonight said he would oppose a common corporate tax base in the euro area as a condition for easing the terms of the State's bailout.

Speaking in Brussels following a meeting with European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso, Mr Kenny said he would “not support any adoption” of a common corporation tax rate.

"I've already made the case that I consider the common corporate tax base would have the same effect: this would be harmonisation of taxes through the back door,” he said.

Mr Kenny also said he was "looking forward to receiving" the results of stress tests on the State's banks, which will "help greatly to determine the level of support needed”.

He said the Commission was “very supportive” of Ireland’s case for a lower interest rate on the EU/IMF bailout.

His meeting with Mr Barroso came ahead of meetings of the European Council and the euro zone heads of government tomorrow, where a reduction of the interest rate is likely to be discussed.

Earlier, the Cabinet held its second meeting and approved the appointment of 15 junior ministers.

Mr Kenny retained 15 such ministries, despite pledging during the general election campaign that the number would be reduced to 12 in a government led by his party.

Fine Gael got nine junior positions, including the Chief Whip Paul Kehoe, and Labour six, including that of Willie Penrose, who was appointed to the 'super junior' position at the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government with responsibility for housing.

Fine Gael’s Brian Hayes and Fergus O’Dowd, who were passed over for full ministries yesterday, are included in the list, as were Labour's Róisín Shortall and Jan O'Sullivan.

Mr Hayes has been given responsibility for public service reform while Mr O’Dowd will oversee the NewERA project, Fine Gael’s plan to dispose of State assets and invest €7 billion into infrastructure.

Fine Gael’s Lucinda Creighton gets responsibility for European affairs and party colleague Shane McEntee is given the food and horticulture brief.

Ms O'Sullivan and Ms Shortall get responsibility for foreign affairs and trade and primary care respectively.

Labour's Kathleen Lynch is given the disability, equality and mental health brief while Seán Sherlock will be Minister of State for Research and Innovation.

There are two junior ministries at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. Fine Gael’s Michael Ring takes charge of tourism and sport while Labour’s Alan Kelly will look after public and commuter transport.

Separately, Minister for Justice, Equality and Defence Alan Shatter attended the commissioning ceremony of 32 new officers at the Defence Forces in the Curragh this afternoon.

There was much surprise at the decision yesterday to give Brendan Howlin the public expenditure and reform brief rather than Joan Burton, who had been widely expected to get a senior finance portfolio. She was named as Minister for Social Protection.

But Minister for Education and Skills Ruairí Quinn defended the decision this morning, saying nobody was guaranteed a specific portfolio. "Brendan Howlin has been a full Cabinet Minister in two separate governments.

“The main job in the post he's been appointed to is getting reform and finding efficiencies and economies and he is very well equipped to do that," he told RTÉ's Today with Pat Kenny programme.

He said Ms Burton was taking charge of the biggest spending department in the Government. "She is responsible for placement and employment services and she is very well equipped in that area."

Mr Penrose said today he sought clarity on what exactly his 'super junior' role would involve before accepting it. “I asked Pat Rabbitte for advice. I wanted to make sure it was an opportunity to make a contribution.

“Maybe, being a barrister, I’m overly pedantic but I wanted to ensure I was fully au fait with the precise terms of the job I was getting,” he said.

Mr Penrose said his seeking clarification did not cause the half-hour delay yesterday in announcing members of Cabinet.