FIANNA FÁIL’S FINANCE spokesperson, Michael McGrath, has hit out a David Cameron over his criticisms of Ireland’s ta x regime, saying Britain – and other European countries – are just looking to get multinational investment for themselves.
Cameron took particular issue with the the Double Irish loophole which allows multinational companies to legally shift their profits offshore to avoid paying tax. It has been in the spotlight in recent days because of a European Commission investigation.
“The problem with the low rate of corporation tax in the Republic Ireland, is actually that it wasn’t that it was just a low rate, it was that businesses weren’t even paying that rate,” David Cameron told UTV in a sit-down interview last night.
“There is the so-called Double Irish, the parsing of profits through other low-tax or no-tax regimes. That is now being cracked down on and about time too,” he emphasised.
Cameron believes the international efforts to curb the system will help Northern Ireland as it will bring its tax rates closer to the Republic of Ireland’s which is helpful because of the shared land border.
Responding to Cameron’s comments, McGrath said the UK “want our jobs and they want our investment”.
They were absolutely unfriendly comments and they certainly weren’t comments you expect from a neighbouring country but the reality is that the UK is in direct comp with Ireland for multinational investment.
“This attack on Ireland’s corporation system could be the thin end of the wedge and it has been known for quite some time that many countries had been looking on Ireland with a degree of envy in relation to our corporation tax system,” he said. “They have given up on the issue of attacking our corporation tax rate – this is a sovereign issue for the Irish government – and our corporation tax system is now under attack.”
He said other countries are “targeting Ireland’s successful track record” because they are “looking to get these jobs for themselves”.
McGrath urged the government to defend Ireland’s corporation tax regime in order to ensure multinational investment continues.
The European Commission has, this morning, published a formal letter to the Irish government, outlining its concerns over its tax arrangements with Apple.
First published 9.10am
- With additional reporting by Michelle Hennessy.
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