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Government will answer Apple tax figures with denial, embarrassment and silence – Pearse Doherty

7 March, 2014 - by Pearse Doherty TD

Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson Pearse Doherty TD said this morning the public are unlikely to get any satisfaction from the Government’s response to the news that Apple paid Irish tax of $36 million dollars on $7.11 billion profits.

He predicted the Government will react with a mixture of denial, embarrassment and silence, because they have no real interest in challenging multinational tax companies abusing loopholes in Irish tax laws.

Doherty said:

“Following previous revelations concerning Apple, Google and other MNCs tax affairs, I wrote to the Finance Committee asking for the establishment of a sub-committee to examine the accusations that were being made concerning Irish tax law and the Department of Finance’s relationship with MNCs.

“Whether the accusations were true or not, it was absolutely essential that Irish politicians looked into them – that is our job. My request was acceded to, but only after it was met by much hostility and ridicule by members of Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil, who seem less concerned about Ireland’s international tax reputation, and more about their relationships with individuals in MNCs.

“The contributions of those politicians in that committee to date have been nothing short of embarrassing. Rather than scrutinizing accusations, they seem to have made it their mission to act as spokespeople for MNCs, which they seem to think is more patriotic than asking tough questions and ensuring everyone, including the Irish taxpayer, is getting a fair deal. I suppose we could expect no more from three parties who put international bank bondholders before the rights and needs of our own citizens.

“The only changes the Government has made so far to our tax code loopholes were forced upon it. When I recommended in the Committee that stateless companies be made Irish resident, if they were Irish incorporated, I was told this could not happen. This is all a matter of public record and the transcripts are available.

“The Minister was forced to put that provision in the Finance Bill, however, unlike the property tax or the many cuts his Government have inflicted with immediate effect, the Finance Bill allowed two years for companies currently not paying any tax to get their affairs in order before the clause is enacted. The Government will make aesthetic gestures when it comes under pressure, but it continues to offer large, profitable companies as much leeway and protection as possible – the same is not afforded to ordinary taxpayers.

“I imagine the Government will react to today’s revelations with silence, denial and embarrassment. This is not surprising. I expect in the coming weeks, they will hope the story just dies down and goes away, but unfortunately the sub-committee still exists.

“I have asked that members from MNCs be brought before the sub-committee to answer questions, but other parties have resisted this. Sinn Féin will continue to pressure those who want to shy away from asking MNCs any questions about their tax affairs. In this instance, a good job has been done by the media, but politicians should be to the fore in exposing any abuses in our tax code and Sinn Féin won’t be cowed by the attempts of Fine Gael, Labour and Fianna Fáil to keep a lid on the truth.”


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