Statement by Minister Mitchell-O’Connor Dáil debate on European Commission decision on Apple state aid case
Our international reputation as a place of business and future job creation is critical.
Multi-nationals invest in Ireland for many reasons.
They come here because of our talented and highly capable workforce.
They come here because we are an English speaking country in the Eurozone.
They come here to invest in Ireland, because they can rely on the stability and transparency of the Irish legal and taxation regime.
They know that laws will not be re-written or retrospectively applied.
They know our courts will vindicate the rights of people.
The European Commission has called into question our sovereign right to collect tax according to our tax laws.
We are a sovereign nation with jurisdiction over our own tax laws.
We make no apologies for this.
We make no apologies for putting in place the right enterprise conditions for investment for international companies.
We stand by our 12.5% corporation tax.
We are a country that makes real goods and provides real services – whether it’s medical devices, pharma products, infant milk powder, microchips or fintech products.
We compete with other countries for FDI.
Let no one be so naive – to think that FDI come here for "Irish eyes that are smiling or for our turf fires".
Its cut throat out there – Singapore, Luxembourg, Denmark and London to name but a few vigorously fighting to win investment.
As the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, I want to make sure that the 187,000 people who depend on foreign direct investment for jobs have certainty both now and in the future.
Apple employs 6,000 people in Ireland, of which 5,500 are in Cork.
The company will in a short time invest €850 million into Athenry.
Real jobs – real people – not just a statistic you might see in a tax report or a brassplate company.
FDI companies account for 15% of all employment and export €130 billion worth of goods and services.
They contribute significantly and support innovation across every part of our economy.
They represent the potential pipeline of employment for our children and grandchildren.
So yes, it is incumbent on us to protect our reputation and we will.
I would also just point out to deputies that are critical of the Government’s approach to appeal the decision that many of you cry foul when the IDA doesn’t facilitate enough visits to your constituencies.
Make no mistake about it, IDA investment depends on our international reputation.
Therefore, we cannot and will not allow the fallout from this Commission decision to hamper our ongoing efforts to win more foreign direct investment for Ireland.
The ruling has the potential to cast a cloud over our hard-won reputation as a legitimate home for international business and it creates uncertainty.
Uncertainty frightens investors and delays investment.
You can't have it both ways
We have a responsibility to robustly contest the Commission’s decision.
And let me say that I am confident our appeal will succeed.
That is because, in very simple terms, Ireland did not provide favourable treatment to the company involved.
The facts and historical record bear this out.
I urge every one of my colleagues here in this House to support this appeal of the flawed European Commission decision.
Nothing less than our country’s reputation and prosperity is at stake.