IDA Ireland CEO: ‘the EU’s Apple ruling is contradictory and flawed’

2 Sep 2016

IDA Ireland CEO Martin Shanahan

The chief executive of IDA Ireland, Martin Shanahan, today told a gathering of senior US investors visiting Ireland that the European Commission’s decision that Apple must pay back €13bn in taxes is “internally contradictory and its basis flawed.”

Shanahan was speaking earlier today (2 September) at a business breakfast ahead of this weekend’s American football match – between Boston College and Georgia Tech – at the Aviva stadium, Dublin. The breakfast was attended by the cream of US investors in Ireland. The meeting was also attended by Ireland’s Jobs Minister, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, as well as the Mayor of Atlanta, Kasim Reed.

With the European ruling the obvious elephant in the room, Shanahan was quick to grasp the nettle. “Let me assure you that Ireland’s position has not changed – we do not do tax deals, and it’s simply untrue and a gross mischaracterisation of our taxation regime to say otherwise.”

‘Ireland has one of the most open, consistent and competitive taxation regimes in the world’

Shanahan was speaking just hours before the Irish Government’s cabinet today agreed to launch an appeal alongside Apple.

Irish Govt does not do tax deals

“The Irish Government has again reiterated that Ireland did not give favourable tax treatment to Apple.

“Ireland has one of the most open, consistent and competitive taxation regimes in the world and, together with our other offerings in terms of talent, access to the European market and pro-enterprise policies, Ireland has been hugely successful in attracting foreign companies to establish and expand in Ireland.”

‘The Commission’s decision appears to be internally contradictory and its basis flawed’

Shanahan said that the Commission has acknowledged the decision does not call into question Ireland’s general tax system or its corporate tax rate.

“This decision does not impact on Ireland’s value proposition and I believe that Ireland will continue to win investment, and, in that light, we welcome Apple’s restated commitment to Ireland today, building on its significant presence here.”

He said that Apple has operated continuously in Cork since 1980 and employs nearly 6,000 people across Ireland.

“The vast majority are still in Cork — including some of the company’s very first employees, now performing a wide variety of functions as part of Apple’s global footprint. Countless multinational companies followed Apple by investing in Cork, and today the local economy is stronger than ever.”

Shanahan reiterated how Ireland is in favour of transparency around international taxation.

“Ireland has been a full participant and to the forefront in international efforts to address Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) and abides fully with OECD guidelines. Ireland has made necessary changes to its taxation regime as international tax rules have developed over the years.

“The Commission’s decision appears to be internally contradictory and its basis flawed,” Shanahan said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years