The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath, has said that Ireland has adopted a 'considered and measured approach' to remaining within OECD negotiations on tax reform but outside the Framework Agreement reached in July.

He told an online event with the EU Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni, hosted this afternoon by the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA), that Ireland does want to be part of an overall agreement.

He said Ireland does ‘actively’ support Pillar One of the Agreement (where the profits of big companies are taxed according to where they make their sales) which comes ‘at some cost’ but still has concerns about the minimum corporation tax rate which forms Pillar Two of the Agreement.

He said Ireland wants to have ‘absolute certainty’ over what it might sign up to and that ‘a judgement call’ will be made and that the next few weeks will be critical.

He said the 12.5% corporation tax has been ‘the bedrock’ of Ireland’s Foreign Direct Investment policy.

EU Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said it's a matter for the Irish government to decide but the Commission considers the possibility of an agreement as ‘a very important step forward for the global community.’

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar

Earlier, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar said Ireland is continuing its international discussions regarding the OECD proposals on a global tax rate.

He said they are committed to the process but cannot make a commitment either way yet as to whether Ireland will sign up to it.

He said Ireland has a good bit of leverage and negotiating power, but he refused to detail further what that could mean for the final decision that is made by Ireland in relation to this tax deal.

The Tánaiste said Ireland would prefer to be part of any international agreement.

"Ireland is not a tax haven nor do we want to be seen as a tax haven."

While he refused to be drawn on whether Ireland would commit to it or not, he said the rate only relates to companies with $750 million turnover a year so it would not impact large Irish businesses.

Earlier this year the OECD said that 130 countries and jurisdictions have signed up to a plan that will bring sweeping new reforms to global corporation tax rules.

Ireland, which has long been committed to a 12.5% rate, was not on the list of signatories to the proposals but remains part of the tax reform process.

Speaking from New York yesterday, Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the Government are engaging in "constructive" discussions with the Organisation for Cooperation and Development on corporation tax.

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Earlier, Labour finance spokesperson Ged Nash said Ireland should sign up to the OECD 15% rate for corporation tax.

He said multi-national companies should pay more, adding: "They are doing very well."

Deputy Nash contended that as the Government has burned bridges with OECD allies, by not agreeing to 15%, it will be far harder to limit the marginal rate to that floor.

He said no one should be surprised that Labour was supporting such a position, given its long record on tax justice. He warned that it could go higher.

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Meanwhile, the managing partner of Pricewaterhouse Coopers Fergal O'Rourke has said that he thinks the Government will sign up to the global tax rate once the rate is clarified at 15% or less.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, Mr O'Rourke said that the change has been coming for some months with officials from the Department of Finance working on the international stage to advance Ireland's position on taxation with both the OECD and the EU.

He said that there would be "reputational and financial consequences for Ireland" if it did not signing up to the international tax agreement.

He said it is "not in our interests to be on the sidelines here and Ireland does not want to be the North Korea of tax".

He said he does not think a higher rate would lead to a downturn in US investment in Ireland as Ireland would continue to be a competitive business environment.