Thursday, 1 September 2016

Governments approach to Apple ruling: ‘Rotten to the Core’

Speaking after the European Commission ruling that the multinational corporation Apple owes the Irish state 13 billion euro in taxes, Sinn Fein Senior Spokesperson on social protection and TD for Wicklow/East Carlow John Brady has said the government’s attitude is rotten to the core:

“The European Commission findings could not be clearer. They have found that the government’s relationship with Apple amounts to unfair state aid and as such Apple is obliged to repay the monies in question to the Irish exchequer. Numerous government spokespeople including Fine Gael TD Richard Bruton have made statements suggesting that the commission is effectively asking the Irish state to act as a taxation policing agent across Europe. The government has also claimed the ruling could frighten off future foreign direct investment (FDI) opportunities, and that the jobs associated with current FDI could be put under threat. This is nonsense, these claims are completely bogus and are in fact a smokescreen to try and deflect from the central issue which is Apple’s responsibility to pay its fair share of taxes the same way as any other company or individual is obliged to do. The failure of both Fine Gael and Fianna Fail to accept the ruling shows that something is still rotten in the state of these two parties.”

Teachta Brady went on to say that the government’s plan to appeal the decision amounts to nothing less than economic delinquency:
“Minister for finance Michael Noonan supported by his party colleagues along with both Fianna Fail and the Labour party have all said that the Irish government should appeal the decision in support of Apple. Whilst the cabinet has yet to issue a definitive statement on this, it seems absolutely ridiculous that a government would turn its back on a windfall equal in value to the entire annual health budget. Economically this is madness especially given the fact that Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook has said ‘the company is committed to Ireland and plans to continue investing here’. Apple have a huge operation in Ireland which is phenomenally lucrative, it is one of the world’s richest and most profitable multinationals; 13 billion to a company like Apple is loose change. However, to a country like Ireland which is suffering the after effects of an economic crisis and years of enforced austerity; this money could go a long way in helping to address the many challenges we face in Health, Housing, Homelessness, infrastructure and indeed help the many Irish SME’s employing hundreds of thousands and struggling to survive.

"The government has also claimed that Ireland would be forced to use the money to pay down our national debt even if we did accept it. This claim has also been shown to be bogus. The commission has made it perfectly clear that the Irish government will have complete freedom to spend the money as it sees fit. The attitude of Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Labour amounts to nothing short of economic delinquency, commentators of all shades at home and abroad are simply shocked that the Irish government could come down on the side of a massive multinational against the interests of its people. There are different standards applicable depending on whether the company is a domestic company or a multinational and this is not acceptable. In the same way, there are different standards applicable between a wealthy non-resident Irish Citizen and a less fortunate resident citizen who pays his or her taxes. Revenue have facilitated and concealed tax avoidance which has taken place on a massive scale.”

In Conclusion Teachta Brady said that Sinn Fein along with others is calling for the Dáil to resume early in order to debate the issue:
“The fact that the house is not in session means that there can be no robust debate to challenge the belligerence of the three establishment parties; Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and Labour. The summer recess is long enough anyway, when a serious event like this comes up all members have an obligation to appear in Leinster House and hold the government to account. Sinn Fein will continue to apply pressure on Fine Gael and Fianna Fail in relation to the commission ruling and we are calling on the government to recall the house early in order to allow the issue to be debated fully on the floor and to introduce a tax regime which is fair to all.”

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