‘Why Are You Backing The Commission And Not Your Own Country?’



Fine Gael TD Kieran O’Donnell, Fianna Fáil TD Lisa Chambers, Vincent Boland, Ireland correspondent at The Financial Times and Independent TD Catherine Connolly

Last night.

On TV3’s Tonight with Vincent Browne.

The panelists were Fine Gael TD Kieran O’Donnell, Fianna Fáil TD Lisa Chambers, Vincent Toland, of the Financial Times and Independent TD Catherine Connolly.

From the discussion:

Kieran O’Donnell: “Firstly, Vincent, America is made up of 50 states, right? So I see that as one..”

Vincent Browne: “Oh, really? 51 states.”

Catherine Connolly: “52 [inaudible].”

O’Donnell: “51 states, I stand corrected. 52, look, well, whatever. ”

Talk over each other

O’Donnell: “Companies have, in the main, pay federal tax, right? So I don’t buy the argument. Europe is made up of distinct countries with their separate tax laws, right? That’s number one. And I think that, number two, the Revenue Commissioners have operated independently of Government…they operate independently of Government and I think that’s why we have a situation whereby that, if Government ministers were aware of every ruling with or with the opinion given by Revenue Commissioners, people would say that’s interference, you can’t have it both ways, so, effectively we have a separation…”

Connolly: “I actually don’t want it both ways but ye want it both ways.”

O’Donnell: “We don’t.”

Connolly: “You do. You want to be part…”

Talk over each other

Lisa Chambers: “Catherine, is this a state aid matter or is it a taxation matter? State aid should not encroach on taxation matters and it is a fundamental principle..”

Vincent Browne: “I would say the opposite..”

Chambers: “It is a fundamental principle of taxation law that it should not apply retrospectively. This is going back 25 years. 25 years.”

Connolly: “That’s not accurate, sorry, it’s not accurate, it’s not 25 years.”

Browne: “This is quite wrong.”

Connolly: “That’s not accurate, the second thing is, we’re a part of Europe, ye have endorsed Europe, you’ve endorsed the Commission and their rules and now that it doesn’t suit you…”

Chambers: “But if one of the rules that… a country defines its own taxation law…”

Connolly: “One of the basic rules is you cannot give state aid selectively and that’s the crux here, on top of the other crux…”

Chambers: “But it’s a taxation matter…”

Browne: “Ah, Lisa…”

Chambers:It is not state aid, I’m sorry, it’s incorrect.”

Connolly: “The commission is saying that you treated Apple selectively. You gave them special treatment, compared with other companies. You’re saying ‘no we didn’t’.”

Chambers: “But why are you backing the commission and not your own country?

Connolly: “I’m not backing anything. I’m looking at the judgement.

Talk over each other

Vincent Boland: “It’s not a question of patriotism. It’s a question of law and of policy and of…”

Chambers:Sovereignty and taxation law.”

Watch back in full here

Thanks John Harrington

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59 thoughts on “‘Why Are You Backing The Commission And Not Your Own Country?’

  1. Owen C

    Kieran O’Donnell: “Firstly, Vincent, America is made up of 50 states, right? So I see that as one..”
    Vincent Browne: “Oh, really? 51 states.”
    Catherine Connolly: “52 [inaudible].”
    O’Donnell: “51 states, I stand corrected. 52, look, well, whatever. ”

    This country deserves everything we get.

    Correct answer: 50, plus Federal District of Columbia (Washington DC)

      1. MoyestWithExcitement

        Yes, we’re doomed. Thankfully we have Some Guy to show us the way with his internet comments though.

          1. MoyestWithExcitement

            Yeah, sorry about that. I’ve terrible aim. I promise I’ll aim for your mouth next time.

        1. Neilo

          This bit would really have achieved lift-off if only ‘young’ had appeared between ‘cream of some’ and ‘guy’.

      2. cluster

        ‘Tis slightly more complicated.

        50 States, but DC is a federal district and something akin to a state.
        Puerto Rico is oft talked of as a state even though it is territorial possesion and only has a non-voting delegate in Congress.

        1. Kieran NYC

          But then you also get to Guam and the Virgin Islands, etc etc. I don’t think they were being that nuanced.

    1. Sheik Yahbouti

      Shocking level of ignorance of the facts actually under discussion displayed by the FG and FF TD’s – really abysmal. Mr. Boland was not a great deal better. So to encapsulate it, the usual torrent of quacking and barking about irrelevancies that passes for political discussion in this country.

    2. Caroline™

      Plus the property of Puerto Rico, which is why mistakenly believing there are 52 states is incredibly common, including in the US itself.

      1. :-Joe

        Ye, not to mention the real 51st or 1st state of Israel. Jerusalem, Riyadh and the rest of the axis of evil in London, Paris, NATO and all the clowns in the UN and G20 that let them get away with everything,

        You might as well throw in the 1000 military bases around the planet, Shannon airport and the Dail in Dublin into the mix too.

        1,075 or something…?


  2. Maire

    Vincent Boland and Catherine Connolly were really good. Disappointed with the newcomer Lisa Chambers. She has joined the sheep in blurting out the same old Mantra. If she actually supported her country like she asked other people to do she would oppose the appeal spouted by FG. The numpty Kieran O’D was unreal!

  3. Cork Narrie

    Ya, but Apple in the US taxes profits from the US, Canada and South America, so that argument by O’Donnell is invalid. Apple’s Cork office deals with all other sales (except sales in Ireland), which pays 0.005% tax.

  4. 15 cent

    ‘listen back here’ .. no way. not ever. it’s waffley nonsense from people who know fupp all, and are talking over each other with Donnolly out shouting everyone else, which in irish politics makes him the boss. such an awful political system we have here, run by feicin’ primary school teachers and farmers. irelands a joke shop.

  5. Question Egg

    Lisa Chambers is a barrister and very smart, she is worth listening to I think.
    I wonder is she single?

        1. :-Joe

          FF/FG need more women to be taken seriously by other women. Look what happened with Avril Power recently… and how she left for not willing to shut up, look nice and follow orders.

          If this wan is willing to a) support or join FF/FG and b) take the same crap that her predecessor did and c) thinks this a clever move… then no, I thik she’s quite dumb and definitely not worth pursueing if I were you, but each to their own.

          Honestly, best of luck to her but based on this interview you can see she is still in FF/FG media training… fun king hilarious to be honest…

          Stick with being a barrister…


    1. Neilo

      To say nothing of the lions’ share of the ‘bailout’ used to replenish coffers left empty by reduced tax take and insanely high levels of public spending. I wonder whether ‘benchmarkers’ should be filed alongside the ‘banksters’ in a new demonology?

    2. :-Joe

      Well, I was asking…

      It should be but apparently It’s not a politicians job to do anything unless we repeatedly ask them to do it first.


  6. frank

    I was attempting to view the video but those scumbags ‘3’ were so busy planting cookies on my laptop I was forced to click out and forget it.

    1. :-Joe

      Just run in a private window in Firefox or if your still using chrome run incognito mode and turn off cookies or don’t accept beforehand.


  7. Fact Checker

    This entire issue hinges on whether Apple got a SELECTIVE, firm-specific advantage by virtue of tax rulings by revenue. Specifically an advantage that other firms did NOT receive.

    I have read most of what is in the public domain about this issue.

    What is NOT in the public domain is the >100 page background document that underpins the Commission decision (all we have so far is a press release). This (presumably) contains some contention that this tax treatment was selective.

    Until this is in the public domain pretty much everyone is speculating about the specifics.

    1. Nigel

      Could also be a revenue-specific ruling virtue by an advantage of firm selective apples. WE JUST DON’T KNOW.

      Apple got a SELECTIVE, firm-specific advantage by virtue of tax rulings by revenue.

  8. collynomial

    I feel like, everyone who discusses this, thinks that they know more than they do. Like they feel the very finer and tedious points of tax law and state aid law and Apple’s accounts in general can be just glossed over in a hand sweeping motion.

    The European Commission launched it’s investigation in June 2014 and made it’s findings known last month. Regardless of whether they have made the right call, it’s absolutely ridiculous to think that four guests on #vinb who don’t even know how many states in the US can thrash this out for the plain people of Ireland to understand, when it took a good few lawyers and accountants over two years to put it together.

    Tyranny is the deliberate removal of nuance as they say, and such as debate is designed to remove the nuance.

    1. :-Joe

      Evidence is a better judge of facts than feelings and most people think they know more than they do about most things.

      After all. most experts are only an expert because they themselves claim to be as it’s not a recognised qualification.

      I would say few people are taking the complexity of what we don’t know for granted and you must be able to see beyond that at what is becoming glaringly apparent to most people interested around the world?… No..?

      Ok. while not all the details are in, and all other nuances aside…

      Do you agree that Apple has been facilitated by Ireland in a tax avoidance scheme via a special agreement that justifies the EU’s ruling?..
      – or –
      The government is right and truthful in what it is saying and doing and should appeal solely on it’s own stated reasons and the interests of Ireland regardless of what Apple decides to do?

      I’m sure there’ll be more twists and turns but just curious what you think right now?


      1. :-Joe

        ” and such as debate is designed to remove the nuance. ”

        Not sure what you mean by this but I would have thought debate helps to provide more nuanced arguments to be heard?… No?….

        Apart from Vincent Brown, Catherine Connelly and Vincent Boland were worth listening to for facts, reason and logic without a biased agenda.


        1. collynomial

          In general I would agree with you on the function of debate; my point was more the #vinb style debate *talks over each other*.

          1. :-Joe

            Ye, for reasoned debate it’s all over the place most of the time but I still like Vincent Brown’s confrontational style of offending everyone that won’t talk straight or back up the summary of his view of the reality.

            To be fair #Vinb tries to get at the real issues and you rarely see the establishment being called out for being as stupid and ridiculous as they are directly to their two-sided faces on live TV.

            It’s the closest thing we have to a shock jock doing politics and when he points it square at the establishment bore-fest of propaganda it has a hilariously entertaining car crash comedy value.


      2. collynomial

        I don’t think I agree with either of the two propositions you’ve put forward. I don’t feel I disagree with them either. I feel like I don’t know.

        I don’t think it is right to call it a “tax avoidance scheme”, nor do I think “facilitated” is the right word, furthermore, I don’t think that Apple are unique in this regard.

        I think the government believe they are appealing in what they see to be the greater interest of the country.

        I also don’t think the two options you posit are entirely mutually exclusive.

    2. RobertasYourLGBTQParentsSiblingRelative

      That’s the Vin B show for you, its’ tabloid fodder for either the plainly uninterested or poorly informed

      it’s even worse that morons like you who should know better feel they have to point this out to someone

      1. :-Joe

        He has a point about the complexity of the tax system.

        I still think that more importantly, it’s worth watching as a typical example of how establishment politicians react to a serious issue that they want to brush under a rug rather than deal with transparently with the public .


        1. RobertasYourLGBTQParentsSiblingRelative

          what’s complex about it? a company made a special tax deal with Ireland
          EU doesn’t like that and demands fair treatment for all corporations

          oh look you have me doing it now

          1. :-Joe

            lol… ye I agree…

            The point of the wider picture wiith Apple’s tax affairs internationally is complex but somewhat irrelevant.

            I was trying to make that point myself…. and drag you in too…

            My evil plan worked .. MuahahahahaHAAA!!!


  9. :-Joe

    It’s worth watching this episode….

    A fine example of how the government is trying to perform the usual three card monty trick on the interests of the Irish public and of course, more importantly, on it’s own deluded moronic supporters. Trying to reassure everyone that it knows what it is doing, it’s for our best interests and eh.. just stay dumb and leave it to the novices that you voted for.

    Catherine Connolly seems superhuman in comparison, only using the basic skills of common sense, reason and logic that the establishment refuses to be honest about and she completely nails it ( as @Fact Checker details above in this thread of comments).

    Mr & Mrs establishment looking as dumb as the whole country does right now to the rest of the world and the majority of the Irish people with half a brain cell and a spine. Even Finance Man has to concede two or three times that their poorly designed illusion will be laughed at by the E.U. as they will most certainly lose on appeal.


    1. :-Joe

      lol.. ye, that was a good one from the female-front apprentice…

      I had a vsion of her practicing that for about an hour in the mirror before she arrived.

      Part of the good old FF/FG counter strike media training…….


  10. Anne

    I know how we could recoup this…

    Put PAYE workers on emergency tax, when no P45 has been submitted to revenue or it’s their first job in the country.
    When they realise they are being taxed too much and they call up, send out a week 1 tax credit certificate. (as opposed to a cumulative tax credit certificate)

    More than likely they’ll never claim back the overpaid emergency tax, and won’t get the full year’s tax credits..

    Hey presto, hundreds of millions overpaid by PAYE workers in tax. We’ll leave the corporations alone..

    Oh they’re already doing that… nevermind.

  11. wedduck

    Bleedin’ traitors wanting companies to be paying their taxes so we can build houses fund hospitals and the like. Have they no shame?

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