Independent TD Mattie McGrath has confirmed that he will abstain from voting on the government’s Motion to Appeal the European Commission judgement regarding Apple’s tax liability to the Irish State. Deputy McGrath was speaking as the Dáil continues to debate the Motion ahead of an expected vote on the matter around 9pm this evening:
“There is a growing sense that the line adopted by the government, and which is being supported by both Fianna Fail and the Labour Party, is diversionary and inadequate.
It is clear that the central issue we are dealing with here is illegal state aid; a fact the government is doing its best to deflect attention away from by its insistence this is an attack on our sovereignty.
Questions must be asked about why this strategy is being adopted? Why the sudden burst of patriotic fervour from a Fine Gael party that up until a fortnight ago continued to bend over backwards to appease our ‘partners’ in Europe?
Is this an attempt to emotionally sway the Irish people by encouraging us to put on the green jersey and ignore the facts?
There is also a palpable sense that until we have full disclosure of the details as they are contained in the unpublished judgment of the Commission then we really are in no position to vote on this matter.
I also have serious reservations around the Revenue’s role in all of this, particularly their apparent outrage at the retrospective nature of the tax liability.
I know from cases in my own constituency that Revenue has relentlessly pursued small businesses with the same retroactive zeal that they are now criticising the European Commission for employing.
My decision to abstain from this vote is not however a pro-European Commission stance, nor is it an anti-government stance.
We all want the same goals; fairness and transparency in our tax code, the retention of sovereignty in tax matters and the protection of inward investment and employment.
That being said, until the lingering doubt that we are being sold a pub is more persuasively dealt with then I have no choice but to abstain from this vote,” concluded Deputy McGrath.