Absolutely there is no acceptance in Europe of the loopholes which allow big businesses to contribute just a tiny amount of tax to the Irish exchequer; MEP Nessa Childers said this morning.
The Independent politician was reacting irately to comments made by Minister Simon Coveney on RTE Radio’s Morning Ireland programme.
‘I have long said that 12.5 per cent should mean 12.5 per cent – yes it’s an appealing rate that brings jobs to this country. However, by turning a blind eye to the wholly disproportionate amount of tax paid by the likes of Apple, Google or Facebook, the Government does the people of this country a great disservice.
‘And despite what Simon Conveney might claim,’ she added, ‘there is little support for such practices in Brussels – indeed, I would argue that Ireland’s reputation has been sorely damaged because there is a perception amid MEPs that we strategically afford a lax tax payment policy to certain companies.’
Agricultural Minister Coveney said this morning on RTE Radio that ‘there is an acceptance and an understanding at European – and also at US – level’ of the Taoiseach’s explanations around Ireland’s corporate tax levels. He also dismissed the issue as ‘nothing new’.
‘Why is it that the ordinary person on the street has to cough up a significant percentage of their wages to the exchequer, but influential multinationals can pay what they deem fit?’ Ms Childers asked.
‘It is important to attract business to these shores – but really, the Government needs to draw a line in the sand. A rate of 12.5 per cent would still allow for significant contributions to this country: hospitals, education and social welfare for-all-could benefit significantly.’
Figures obtained by the Irish Times this morning detail how Apple has been allowed for years to pay close to zero corporation tax on billions of dollars earned in other countries, using unlimited Irish entities.
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