Bruton to fight EU claims of special tax deal for Apple
IRELAND will fully defend the EU case over technology giant, Apple and their controversial Irish tax affairs.
Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton vowed the Government will "strongly" contest any allegation by Brussels that the California-based firm received 'sweet-heart' tax deals or State aid by stealth over the past three decades.
It is the first confirmation that Ireland will contest EU claims of special tax deals for the IT giant both in Brussels and, if necessary, in the US.
EU Commission sources have already hinted that any finding of tax underpayments by Apple through their Irish operation would require tax settlements - potentially yielding billions of Euro for Ireland.
However, both the Government and Apple have signalled they will fight any claims of special tax deals.
Mr Bruton, speaking in Cork, dismissed any suggestion that Apple may reduce their Irish employment levels as a direct consequence of the EU and US controversy over their Irish tax affairs. Apple currently employs 4,000 staff in Cork and have doubled in size over the past four years.
"We deal with Apple as with all of our companies on a very regular basis and they are a very strong company," Mr Bruton said. "This issue in relation to the European investigation is something Government has been over - we believe we can defend that case and will do so very strongly.
"But, from our point of view, Apple is a very important employer. They have transformed themselves here in Cork over the years and we believe that Cork offers them a great site for future development.
"I am confident that Apple is here for the long term because they have transformed their business here."
Apple echoed the Government's position.
"Apple is proud of its long history in Ireland and the 4,000 people we employ in Cork," a spokesperson said.
"Since the iPhone launched in 2007, our tax payments in Ireland and around the world have increased tenfold."
The technology giant said it is committed to Ireland.