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Government must stop delaying release of Apple ruling - Carthy

5 October, 2016 - by Matt Carthy MEP

Sinn Féin MEP Matt Carthy has called on the Irish government to stop delaying the release of the European Commission’s competition department’s ruling on Apple. Carthy was speaking following a meeting this week between Competition Commissioner Margarethe Vestager and several Irish MEPs, which included his colleague Sinn Féin MEP Martina Anderson.

Speaking from Strasbourg, Carthy, a member of the Economics and Monetary Affairs committee and Panama Papers inquiry, said: “Ms Vestager confirmed to us that the delay in publishing the Apple ruling is due to a process of having commercially sensitive material redacted.  It is clear that there is input from both the Irish government and Apple as the interested parties delaying publication. Surely the identification of commercially sensitive material should be a matter for Apple, not for the Irish government.

“The Irish government should stop assisting Apple in delaying the report’s publication.  Considering the government is spending millions of euro of our money on an appeal the Irish people deserve to see the content of the ruling that, we presume, describes in detail how Apple underpaid taxpayers by €13 billion.

“We hope to continue our discussions with the Commission to discuss some remaining issues.

“For example, since the Apple case only came to the Commission's attention after the US Senate investigation into tax avoidance by Apple, how can possible similar rulings, if they exist, ever be exposed?  We need to put in place a framework of transparency in the Irish state to ensure Revenue cannot provide a selective advantage to a company in this way.”

Carthy continued: “And of course, while the tax rulings issued by Revenue for Apple were the key to the Commissioner’s case against Ireland, the use of the Double Irish was central to the tax avoidance scheme. The Irish government claims that this problem is solved but in fact the Double Irish remains in place for companies who were already using it until the start of 2021. How many billions will companies like Google be able to shift offshore between now and 2021?

“There are a lot of limitations for using the state aid framework to tackle tax avoidance.  The Commission's ruling on Apple did not have the scope required to deal with the fact that Apple was booking its non-US sales through Ireland instead of paying tax in the countries where the sales took place. Only further action at an international level on tackling tax avoidance and the manipulation of transfer pricing can deal with this.”


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