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Commissioner affirms: no move on corporate tax rate without Irish approval

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn assures the Dáil that corporate tax can’t be changed by the EU without Ireland allowing it to.

Máire Geoghegan-Quinn told the Dáil that
Máire Geoghegan-Quinn told the Dáil that "broad-brush" criticism of the European Commission was stifling constructive debate.
Image: Sasko Lazarov/Photocall Ireland

IRELAND’S EUROPEAN COMMISSIONER has assured the Dáil that Ireland’s corporate tax rate cannot be raised by the European Union unless Ireland gives its approval for the move.

Speaking to the Dáil during special sittings to mark Europe Day, commissioner Máire Geoghegan-Quinn said she wished to be “very clear and unequivocal” on the matter of corporation tax, underlining that the “unanimous agreement of all 27 member states” was needed in order for a tax change to be pushed through.

Geoghegan-Quinn’s assertion came amid a spirited defence of the Commission, with the former minister and Galway West TD sharing that she was “deeply concerned” about some of the criticisms being fired at Brussels.

Broad-brush attacks on the Commission, she said, was “turning legitimate criticism on specific issues into a populist attack on all institutions – and indeed on our place at the heart of Europe.”

The commissioner, whose European brief is that of research and innovation, added:

Robust criticism and debate is the lifeblood of democracy, but when it comes to the vital issue of holding EU institutions to account, facts matter.

Geoghegan-Quinn said that the European Commission had been trying to argue the case for a sustainable economic recovery, and that she supported calls for an reduced interest rate on Ireland’s European loans.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny acknowledged that Ireland’s relationship with the European Union had “had its ups and downs”, but said his government was “fully confident” it would reduce the interest rate on the EU loans.

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Kenny called for greater transparency in the operations of the European Central Bank, but warned that a “one-size-fits-all approach” to reforming European institutions “risks fitting nobody”.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin agreed, saying he didn’t believe there was “any logic or benefit to a new programme of major European constitutional change.”

About the author:

Gavan Reilly

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