Following the European Commission’s ruling to charge Apple a €13 billion tax bill on Tuesday, The Irish Government stood by the big Apple, claiming to appeal the decision.
“I disagree profoundly with the commission’s decision,” Michael Noonan, the Irish finance minister, said. “The decision leaves me with no choice but to seek Cabinet approval to appeal the decision before the European courts.”
But following Ireland’s Cabinet meetings Wednesday, the payday proved too enticing to reach a unanimous decision. This raises troubling questions about any potential appeal and the government’s stability.
Noonan has insisted Dublin’s solidarity to Apple since the investigation began in 2014. The rules state that Ireland has no more than 2 months to appeal the Commissions ruling. The government has committed to making a decision this Friday, and may end up welcoming the potential payday, which is enough to fund the county’s health services for an entire year.
“Following the discussion, it was agreed to allow further time to reflect on the issues and to clarify a number of legal and technical issues with the attorney general’s office and with officials,” the government press office said in a statement.
Apple itself will proceed with its own appeal and if Ireland doesn’t do the same there is abundant speculation that it will have impact on the nations pro-business credentials. Following his open letter to his European customers, Apple CEO Tim Cook attacked the ruling during an interview with the Irish Independent. “No one did anything wrong here and we need to stand together. Ireland is being picked on and this is unacceptable,” the newspaper quoted him saying. “It’s total political crap.”
Public Irish opinion is split in Dublin, where many are stunned at the thought of passing up the €13 billion bonus while others share the concerns. “People need to educate themselves. If we take the 13 billion, we’ll have a catastrophe jobs-wise,” said Tracey Whelan, 46, an accountant for a private-equity firm in Dublin.
“Obviously we’d love it … but it’s a poisoned apple.”