The Minister for Education has said there is no rift at Cabinet over how Ireland should react to the European Commission's ruling that Apple must pay Ireland €13bn, plus interest, as it benefited from illegal state aid.

Speaking in Dublin, Richard Bruton said it is important that the Government stands by the independence of the Revenue Commission.

He also said that the European Commission has set itself up as prosecutor, judge and executioner and added that it was an unusual power for them to be taking on.

Mr Burton was speaking after the Independent Alliance met this afternoon to discuss their position on the ruling.

The meeting has ended, and the alliance is still considering its position.

The Cabinet is to meet again tomorrow to discuss the matter, having failed to agree a position yesterday.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has recommended that the decision be appealed.

The Independent Alliance wants the Dáil recalled and a Dáil motion on taxation policies put forward before it will support any appeal. It also wants other issues clarified and will be in contact with Fine Gael throughout the day.

However, sources suggest that there is a view in both Fine Gael and within the Alliance that they will have to agree a position tomorrow.

Fine Gael MEP Brian Hayes said that there is a strong determination to deal with aggressive tax planning and a recognition on the part of the European institutions that Ireland, under Minister Noonan's watch, has changed the corporate tax landscape. 

Speaking on RTÉ Six One News, Mr Hayes said that the scale and the extent of the amount involved is surprising.

He said: "There's a legitimate question mark over whether or not you can change the rules of the game after the event. Equally, there's a question mark about the definition of what state aid rules are."

He said he hopes the government will take a united view on the issue and that it is important to get clarity on the legal standing of what happened at the time.

Meanwhile, Minister for Children Katherine Zappone, an Independent outside the Alliance, held a two-hour meeting with the Attorney General and senior officials this morning, to clarify a number of issues about the commission's findings.

She will now meet independent tax experts to get their assessment and will receive further briefings from the Attorney General if required.

All sides want to prevent this matter escalating into something more serious, but it has already dented the credibility of the Government and its ability to reach decisions on important issues.

Minister for the Environment Simon Coveney has said he thinks the Government will make a decision tomorrow and that it will be a unified position.

He said he strongly agrees with Mr Noonan that the ruling should be appealed and described it as "very flawed".

Minister of State Paul Kehoe has said he hopes a decision on appealing the Apple ruling will be made during tomorrow's cabinet meeting.

Speaking at an event commending four retired naval officers this evening, the minister said it is important for the country that a decision is made.

Fianna Fáil TD Willie O'Dea has said that the Government should appeal the decision because the commission, he said, is trying to take control of Ireland's corporate tax system by using competition law.

Speaking on RTÉ’s News At One, he said he has not discussed the issue with his colleagues but believes Fianna Fáil will support an appeal decision.

Earlier today, Green Party leader Eamon Ryan reiterated his view that the Government should not appeal the ruling.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, he said that between 1991 and 2014, Ireland applied a system whereby Apple was a stateless company and it was wrong that the US technology giant could avoid paying tax.

Mr Ryan disagreed with Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook, who said it was about tax harmonisation.

He said the issue should be debated in the Dáil and the facts should be brought out.