Appeal of European Commission ruling contrary to the interests of citizens - Adams
Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams TD, speaking during a special sitting of the Dáil this morning, has said the recent ruling by the European Commission in respect of illegal State aid has ‘nothing to do with our corporate tax rate or tax sovereignty’ and what’s really at stake is ‘fairness and the construction of a just society based on equality’.
He welcomed the valued contribution of companies like Apple to the Irish economy and stated Sinn Féin’s support for the FDI sector.
He also said that ‘faced with the chance to stand up for Ireland’s interests, the government have decided once again to act contrary to the welfare and interests of citizens’.
Teachta Adams said:
“The issues raised by the Apple deal with successive governments go to the very core of the government’s attitude to citizens; to public services; to tax justice here and internationally; to fairness for our business sector; and to corporate social responsibility.
“Sinn Féin believes firmly in tax fairness - that means that every person and every company should pay their fair share of tax. That has been our consistent position.
“There can’t be one set of rules for some and different rules for others, with small and medium sized enterprises – the backbone of our economy – weighed down by government tax policies, while one very large company pays less than one percent Corporation Tax.
“Government Ministers and Fianna Fáil have been scurrying around trying to portray the ruling by the European Commission in respect of illegal State aid as a question of tax sovereignty and an attempt to undermine our corporate tax rate.
“The Minister for Finance has sought to present himself in Churchillian tones as the defender of the nation who would fight in defence of the State’s tax structures ‘at home and abroad and in the courts’.
“The fact is the ruling has nothing to do with either our corporate tax rate or tax sovereignty. The Commission has not sought to change our 12.5% rate of Corporation Tax.
“Any attempt to portray this is an issue of sovereignty is merely a smokescreen stoked up by those who have actually spent the past forty years handing over our sovereignty to the European institutions.
“Now, faced with the chance to actually stand up for Ireland’s interests, they have decided once again to act contrary to the welfare and interests of citizens by siding with corporate interests.
“Sinn Féin believes in a strong enterprise sector. We want to see a thriving economy, where domestic businesses are supported and are encouraged to expand and prosper.
“Alongside that, we want to see a vibrant FDI sector operating across the island, providing employment, contributing to economic growth and paying their fair share of taxes.
“We want companies like Apple in Ireland, who employ thousands of citizens and we value and appreciate their contribution. I want to welcome the Apple CEO Tim Cook’s comments that the company will continue investing and growing their operations here.
“This is about tax justice in this state and internationally. Indigenous companies have been given no special deals or favours, nor were the self-employed, low-paid workers, pensioners or those struggling to make ends meet.
“Thirteen billion euros, or whatever the figure turns out to be, won’t solve all of our problems. It would of course be welcome but what is important and what’s really at stake here is fairness and the construction of a just society based on equality.
“It’s about a government standing up and saying it is willing to act in interests of citizens and not in the interests of corporations.”