I propose to take Questions Nos. 73 and 74 together.
As the Deputy is aware, I am not at liberty, nor is it appropriate for me, to discuss the tax affairs of individual companies.
The Government profoundly disagrees with the European Commission’s analysis in the Apple State Aid case.
An appeal is therefore being brought before the European Courts. Such an appeal takes the form of an application to the General Court of the European Union (GCEU), asking it to annul the Commission’s Final Decision.
The Attorney General prepared the legal grounds in support of the annulment proceedings and the application was lodged in the GCEU in 2016. As is normal practice, a summary of these have been published in the Official Journal of the European Union. They were also published on the Department of Finance’s website in December 2016.
The case has been granted priority status and is progressing through the various stages of private written proceedings before the GCEU. It is at the discretion of the court to determine if there will be oral proceedings, either in public or in private. It will likely be several years before the matter is ultimately settled by the European Courts.
As this is the subject of open legal proceedings, it will not be possible to comment further, in particular on any of the individual elements of the State’s legal case in defence of our position. This is important to ensure that we do not prejudice our own legal case.
Notwithstanding the appeal, Ireland is obliged to comply with binding Articles of the Commission’s Decision regarding recovery. Officials and experts from across the State have been engaged in intensive work to ensure that Ireland complies with all its recovery obligations as soon as possible.
Ireland has never accepted the Commission’s analysis in the Apple State aid Decision.
However, we have always been clear that the Government is fully committed to ensuring that recovery of the alleged Apple State aid takes place without delay and has committed significant resources to ensuring this is achieved as quickly as possible whilst ensuring that the interests of the Irish taxpayer are adequately protected.
Significant progress has been made on this complex issue and the establishment of an escrow fund, in compliance with all relevant Irish constitutional and European Union law requirements, is close to completion. Officials and experts from across the State have been engaged in intensive work to ensure that Ireland complies with all its recovery obligations as soon as possible.