In a statement, Richard Boyd Barrett TD, Finance spokesperson for the People Before Profit Alliance and member of the new Dail budget scrutiny committee, has condemned as “outrageous”, government plans to spend large amounts of public money appealing a likely ruling by the EU commission on Apple’s tax affairs in Ireland, that would require Apple re-paying potentially billions to the state in un-paid corporate taxes.

In a Parliamentary Question (17505/16 of 23 June) Deputy Boyd Barrett received a information that that the government and Revenue Commissioners have already spent €667,000 on lawyers to ensure that Apple would not have to re-pay large sums in unpaid corporate taxes to the state. The answer to Deputy Boyd Barrett’s Parliamentary question also revealed that this figure did not include legal expenditure incurred by the Attorney General’s office in the case.

Deputy Boyd Barrett said it was “unconscionable” that the government now intended “to fork out even more public money to lawyers to appeal a likely adverse ruling on Apple’s Tax affairs, rather than accept the ruling and gain a huge revenue windfall that could be used to help solve the country’s housing emergency and to invest in other public services and vital infrastructure.”

Deputy Boyd Barrett said the government’s attitude to the Apple corporate tax affair stood in stark contrast to the treatment of ordinary citizens who are pursued vigorously for unpaid tax, and said it demonstrated that there was “one law for super-wealthy corporations and another law for ordinary citizens.”

Deputy Boyd Barrett said the government should immediately abandon any plans to appeal a ruling by the EU commission that could potentially provide a huge windfall to the cash starved public finances.

Richard Boyd Barrett said:  “The government’s attitude on this issue is beyond shocking. It is proof positive that when it comes to tax in this country, there is one law for the super-wealthy corporations and another law for ordinary people. When it comes to you or me, the state will pursue you to the ends of the earth to make you pay taxes or even deduct directly from your wages, as they are doing with the property tax. Yet when massively profitable corporations engage in blatant tax avoidance, the political establishment in this country will do anything to protect them.

It is simply obscene, as I revealed in a parliamentary question just before the summer recess, that the government have spent over €667,000 on legal fees to ensure that Apple doesn’t repay, potentially billions it owes to the state. This figure does not even include what the attorney general’s office may have spent. This is money the state urgently needs to deal with the housing emergency, the crisis in our health services and to invest in vital infrastructure, such as our water system. Any sane government or any government that actually had the interests of the citizens at heart would be delighted to receive such revenue. Instead, the government wants to pay lawyers a fortune to ensure we don’t get this money. It’s really beyond belief.”