Tuesday, 28 June 2011
Enda Kenny (Taoiseach, Department of An Taoiseach; Mayo, Fine Gael)
I do not apply a stopwatch to conversations I have with people and nor did the Deputy when he was on this side. I raised the situation in so far as Ireland is concerned at the plenary session of the Council meeting. I stated last week that I will contribute to these debates in a comprehensive and inclusive manner and I did that. I also spoke on the situation in the Middle East and I put forward a paragraph relating to a number of doctors who trained in Ireland and who are now subject to trial in Bahrain which was accepted by the group. On behalf of the country and as leader of the Government, I contributed to the series of debates to which I referred earlier and which dealt with migration and asylum, the situation in Syria, Libya and other countries in the Middle East.
On the interest rate reduction, no one in their right mind would expect me to attend a European Council meeting and indicate that I agree that there should be a change in Ireland's corporation tax rate. We set that very clearly and everyone supports us. There will be no movement in that regard. The reason the interest rate reduction has not been passed on to Ireland is because there was a request that our corporation tax rate be increased. The discussions taking place revolve around the consequences of Ireland not moving with regard to its corporation tax rate. That is the position. The Heads of Government gave responsibility in this regard to the Ministers for Finance in Brussels last March. The officials from the Departments of the Taoiseach and Finance and the Minister for Finance are continuing to work on the matter. At leaders' level, I made it perfectly clear that we would like a quick conclusion in respect of this matter. In that context, we are adhering to our position of no change to Ireland's corporation tax rate.