Jobs Minister Mary Mitchell O’Connor has vowed to deliver the 200,000 jobs promised by the government despite the controversy over Apple’s taxes.
Fears have been raised that Ireland’s reputation and the prospects for job creation have been damaged by the European Commission’s ruling that the State should demand up to €13bn in back taxes from the tech giant.
Finance Minister Michael Noonan has rejected the Commission’s decision that the company’s tax arrangements here amounted to illegal state aid and says he wants the State to appeal it through European Courts.
Ms Mitchell O’Connor was speaking ahead of a Cabinet meeting where Fine Gael will seek to persuade their Independent Alliance government colleagues to back the planned appeal.
She was asked by Independent.ie if she is concerned that the European decision threatens the government’s pledge to create 200,000 jobs by 2020.
“First of all I profoundly disagree with the European Commission’s decision.
“We’re having a Cabinet meeting this morning. We will be appealing it,” she said.
In relation to any threat to job creation she continued: “Am I worried? Obviously we want to project ourselves in the very best way but I did speak to IDA this morning.
“They’re very confident the pipeline is very strong for jobs for this year and we look forward to creating the jobs that we have promised to do.”
“I should also say I’ve been in Carrick-on-Shannon on Monday, Waterford on Tuesday, announcing jobs and here I am in Dublin this morning announcing jobs,” she added.
Ms Mitchell O’Connor was attending the announcement of up to 50 new jobs by the end of the year at the opening of Fitbit’s Europe, Middle East and Africa headquarters in the city centre.
The company may employ as many as 100 people here by the end of 2017.
The Minister declined to say what she would tell Independent Alliance minister in Cabinet to persuade them to back the plan to appeal the Commission’s ruling.
“What I have to say. I’ll be saying in Cabinet,” she said.
The Independent Alliance – which includes Cabinet ministers Shane Ross and Finian McGrath have said they are “shocked” by the European ruling, are reviewing it and are bringing in their own experts to examine it.
They have not yet said if they will back the planned appeal.
“Ireland does not and has not given favourable tax treatment to Apple. Ireland does not do special deals with taxpayers.
During her speech at Fitbit, Ms Mitchell O’Connor emphasised that the European decision does not affect the 12.5pc rate of corporation tax.
“We will and we must defend the integrity of our tax system,” she said.
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