A bite of Apple’s bill would mean world to brave Jacinta
THE government are right to fight tooth and nail to hold Apple to its promise to open a massive new storage facility in Athenry and expand its 5,000 workforce here in Ireland. Ask anyone in Cork – they believe that Apple is a great employer. They are genuinely annoyed at the focus on another aspect of their employer’s endeavours: the company’s almost messianic crusade to flit around the world to avoid paying its fair share of taxes.
When Ireland closed a tax loophole in the 2015 budget, Apple responded by getting a legal firm to offer their business to other territories, while ascertaining if the country had a strong opposition that might scupper its prospects. They eventually landed in Jersey, but the money was channeled back to Ireland, with little effect for us except to massively inflate our GDP numbers – and coining the phrase ‘Leprechaun economics!’
It’s almost as if there are two companies called Apple: one a Paddington Bear-like cuddly corporation dispensing beautiful, desirable, functional products like the iPad .
The other company, which Ireland has also attracted because of our low corporation tax on multinational profits, behaves like ‘mini-me’ in the Austin Powers movies, constantly trying to keep one step ahead of the Government.
The Paradise Papers has hit Apple hard – in the week when it is on the cusp of becoming the first trillion dollar company in the world – but, in truth, they told us little new.
But it is also adding up to creating a bad odour around Apple with the powers-that-be, especially in Brussels. This means our efforts to reject the ruling – and the €13billion – now has little, if any, support among our EU partners.
It’s not as if we couldn’t do with the money. I was reminded this week of how this is no Paradise Island by the story told to me by a truly remarkable woman, Jacinta Fleming from Tipperary.
Calmly, Jacinta revealed that a year ago she was diagnosed with terminal lung and bone cancer. Her medics put a time frame on the illness: 12 to 18 months.
Firstly, Jacinta had then to wait four months to access a welfare payment , but she continued working until she literally fainted. Applying for disability benefit was another ordeal for Jacinta and her family. Her jobseekers was cancelled and she was left waiting on the disability benefit – all administered by the same Government department! Jacinta was eventually awarded a measly €120 per week: an extra €50 would pay for her children’s school transport.
Jacinta has worked it out: given her prognosis this would cost the State about €1,200 – add ten zeros to that modest number and you have the amount Apple owe us according to the EU .
For decent honourable citizens like Jacinta this is certainly no Paradise Island!