Taoiseach Enda Kenny has said he makes "no apology whatsoever" for defending the right to appeal the European Commission finding that Ireland had given illegal state aid worth €13bn to Apple.

When asked did he think long and hard before deciding to forego the €13bn Mr Kenny said: "It is important that we should appeal the decision to the European Court to get legal clarity and legal certainty on it, and beyond that I make no apology whatsoever for defending the right to appeal this because this is about Ireland, it is about our people, it's about us as a sovereign nation, actually setting out what we consider our appropriate policies to devise job opportunities and employment careers for our people. 

Speaking to RTÉ News, Mr Kenny said: "This is about the right of a small nation.

"I'm not sure whether the European Commission want to ingratiate themselves with more powerful countries than ours, but this is a small country, and the first meeting that I attended after being elected as Taoiseach in 2011 was that I should increase our corporate tax rate.

"We make no apology for defending that 100% and will stand over it as all governments have done over the last 30 years." 

Mr Kenny said that he had adjourned Wednesday's Cabinet meeting so that members could reflect on this matter seriously and that any questions, queries, anxieties and concerns were all dealt with yesterday.

He said he was very happy with the outcome of this morning's Cabinet meeting "at which a very clear decision had been taken not only to appeal the finding, but to also to reiterate our commitment to the 12.5% corporate tax rate in a very constructive and professional manner."