The Government is wrong to appeal the European Commission's verdict that Ireland granted illegal state aid to Apple, according to Professor Joseph Stiglitz.

The former chief economist at the World Bank said the State knew what it was doing with regard to agreeing tax deals with the US tech company.

He said: "You were encouraging tax avoidance, you knew it... you got a few jobs at the cost of stealing revenues away from countries around the world and that's the kind of activity that has to be stopped."

Speaking on RTÉ's Today with Sean O'Rourke, Mr Stiglitz also described the idea that the number of multinational jobs in Ireland could be adversely impacted by the ruling as "nonsense".

"The argument that you are going to lose a lot of jobs is absolute nonsense. It's a new world, it's very clear the rules of the game have changed."

He said going forward Ireland will have to compete on the basis of what it can provide economically.

"This idea that all these people will leave and jobs will disappear is a vote of lack of confidence in Ireland," Mr Stiglitz said.

In addition, he said one of the main issues highlighted by the EU was that Apple was booking profits from other countries in Ireland but not paying tax on the money.

"The issue is if they book it to a subsidiary in Ireland should there be an Irish tax? It's really that simple.

"They were booking it to an Irish subsidiary and they were not paying taxes", adding, "what I find mystifying is why you don't just pocket that €13 billion and use it for the enormous hardship that people in Ireland have had to face."