Earlier this year, within hours of Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, managing to cobble together a minority government, the speculation began. “How long can it possibly last?” “What unforeseen banana skin will bring the whole house crumbling down?”
Albert Reynolds once observed that, “It’s the little things that trip you up”. But the EU Commission ruling on Apple is no small thing, and it looked shaky for a time last week, as certain Independent Alliance ministers were not exactly jumping to shout, “Let’s appeal!”
This morning, when Sean O’Rourke asked Minister for Children Katherine Zappone if she had considered the possibility that she may be forced leave Government, her answer was unwavering.
“Oh yes. Oh yes, Sean. It was a very, very difficult few days.”
Last week, Katherine Zappone dug her heels in at Cabinet and asked the government to adjourn until Friday any the decision on whether or not to appeal the EC’s ruling on the Apple tax issue. An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, agreed, and asked Minister Zappone, “When we do come back, will you be able to support this?”
Katherine Zappone’s answer was a non-committal, “I may be able to, and I may not be able to. That’s all I could say at the time.”
But come Friday, when the Cabinet reconvened, she did agree to the appeal. However, the minister was quick to point out to RTÉ Radio 1 listeners that she “may have made some compromises, but absolutely not in relation to her principles or conscience.
“Ultimately, my decisions in agreeing to appeal are different than my colleagues. I do think that it’s right now that we do appeal, but at the same time, I wasn’t going to just agree to that without ensuring that there are a number of measures in the Government decision that would really bring us into a new era of tax justice.”
Minister Zappone went on to explain that, as “a direct result” of her intervention, there will now be a provision that no tax ruling will stand for more than five years. “This is a very significant initial step,” she said.
When questioned by a listener as to whether she thinks her actions might have been holding up progress – and asked if she should “just pull on the green jersey” – Minister Zappone laughed heartily and answered:
“I think I pulled on the green jersey in order to compromise in relation to, and agreeing to, an appeal for different reasons, but so that we could move into an era of tax justice.”
To hear the interview in full from Today with Sean O’Rourke, click here.
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