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Government being 'dragged kicking and screaming on Corporation Tax' – Doherty

7 October, 2015 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD has called for “a mature debate” on Corporation Tax and said that the government has been “dragged kicking and screaming on Corporation Tax”. Deputy Doherty was speaking during Private Member’s Business in the Dáil this evening. He also called on Minister Noonan not to turn up his nose at any possible windfall from the EU Commission investigation into tax deals with Apple.

He said:

“My party is for a real, mature debate on our corporation tax regime and reputation. To the government I say it’s time to grow up and instead of looking for more and more nod and wink schemes it is time to start building a real industrial policy not based on unsustainable loopholes.

“When I first suggested that we move to close the loophole that allowed some companies to be Stateless, I was told it couldn’t be done. Months later, it was done.”

In January 2013, Minister Noonan told me and the Dáil that: “The problem with the so-called "double Irish" from Ireland's point of view is that it has that name. People think that something we do here gives rise to it. That is not the case. It arises from tax codes elsewhere and the way in which the USA regards certain arrangements. We do not operate any kind of tax haven”

“A year later, the Double Irish was closed down. However, unlike any other closing of a tax loophole companies will have five years to stop using the Double Irish. This is a government that has to be dragged kicking and screaming under international pressure to change any of our systems.

“It is understood that the EU Commission are finalising their investigation into a potentially illegal tax arrangement between Apple and this State. That is an incredibly serious allegation. When this investigation was first announced, the Minister with very little credibility played down this investigation as routine and part of a wider EU investigation. That was never the case; this was always a serious and thorough and specific examination of Ireland’s tax dealings. We have had spin and smoke and mirrors, but when the final decision is taken it will in black and white say this State acted to undermine its own tax base, to facilitate tax avoidance for a specific company or not.

“If it does find that Apple did avoid taxes unfairly, normally that money would be returned to the State. However, Minister Noonan repeatedly tells me he doesn’t want this money. He would turn up his nose at the windfall. This must be a first. If Ireland is due tax from any company, it should be afraid to claim that tax.” 

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